Homeschooling: a Horrible Idea?

For many reasons, homeschooling, at least in my country, is coming into its own. Because of the pandemic, the uncertainty of public schools, and possible disagreement with what is being taught, people are educating their children at home in record numbers.

But is it a good idea? Let me tell you a story.

From first to seventh grade, I was educated in a public school environment. I was what they called a gifted student (well, obviously! Modest, too!). I excelled academically, being on the honor roll almost every quarter, and did not excel socially. I was bullied, not good with sports, and was basically the nerd buttmonkey everyone loved to hate.

In seventh grade, I was pulled out of school and was educated at home. From then on, until college, I did not set foot in a public school except for church events. And it was a horrible experience.

My parents knew they didn’t want me in public school, but that’s all they knew. They were very poorly equipped to educate me. I already knew more than both of the academically, and essentially I just pretty much studied whatever interested me. Somehow I managed to pull through, but it wasn’t because I was educated well. I was responsible for my own education, and I only partially succeeded in educating myself. My sibling was not so lucky.

Still, I’m not going to condemn homeschooling out of hand. For the right student, and the right parents, it can absolutely be the right choice. For the wrong student, or the wrong parent, it can cause damage that can be difficult, if not impossible, to unwind later on in life.

The question is, how do you act in the best interests of the child when it’s possible that neither party- the school or the parent- has the best interest of the child at heart?

Honestly, I don’t know how to answer this question. But it upsets me that no one is asking it.

It is unfortunate, but sometimes a parent does not have the best interest of their child at heart, and it is in the best interest of the child and society to curtail as much as possible the influence of the parent. But that is not always the case. Who decides? The same people who have a vested financial interest in making sure that ad many seats at the school as possible are filled? That’s the very textbook definition of “conflict of interest”. But the same is also true in the other direction – should the parent, who should have a vested interest in the success of their child but could just as easily have a narcissistic demand to control their child, be allowed solely to make that decision? Well, obviously! But, obviously not, too.

There’s really no good answer. I don’t have a good way to answer the question I put in the title. Is it a horrible idea? Yes. And no. It depends. But my caution, based upon my experience on both sides of the problem, is simply this. Do not assume one size fits all, and do not assume blindly that a parent knows what’s best for a child. But absolutely do not assume that the schools have any interest in what is in the child’s best interest. And then throw up your hands and walk away, because no one likes someone who think about those kinds of problems carefully.

But here is my advice: if you are considering home schooling your child, don’t just assume that it is the right decision simply because you’re the parent. Think about it carefully. Think about whether you’re suited to be a teacher. Think about whether your child is better served with you as their teacher. Think about your motivations for wanting to home school you child. And only then are you qualified to make the right decision for everyone involved. Which may well he homeschooling. But maybe not.

Don’t put your child through what I went though. Selfish and narcissistic parents are the worst.

Wow wow wow seishun

Wow, wow wow youth, there are so many types. When two or three get together, it’s noisy, noisy

Morning Musume, Joshi kashimashi monogatari

These past couple of weeks have been a time of deep reflection for me. As the time of my youth slips away, I’m forced to look back at many things in my life from a different lens.

The truth is, I never really got a childhood. And I never really got to be young. I was always old beyond my years, and by the time I realized the value of youthfulness, it had slipped away. I think this is true for many folks, hence the saying, “youth is wasted on the young”. Once you are old and mature enough to realize what is lost, it’s already lost. Maybe it’s the very fact that one is mature enough to realize what is lost that causes it to be lost in the first place.

I think it is true for many media,but for Japanese media particularly that youth is very much overrepresented. Manga and anime are almost always about students of some kind. Nearly all of the idol groups are made up of teenage girls – so much so that groups with adults are seen more as a novelty than something to be taken seriously. Even Japanese adult products seem to fetishize schoolgirls and other aspects of youth. I maintain that you can tell much about what a culture values by its adult media, and Japanese adult media is very, very telling.

I realized that while I know far more about Japanese school culture than I did before I started learning, that really is pretty much what I know. I don’t know what it means to be an adult in Japan.

And maybe that is by design. The few things I have heard about that indicate that it is in some ways a kind of hell on earth. Overworked, no time for fun or happiness or even sex much of the time, drinking as a ritual escape, even to the point of premature death. Maybe the Japanese folks fetishize youth because being an adult is… so awful. I could easily see why adults would become Otaku – beautiful (or at least cute) teenage girls who are required to at least maintain an outward appearance of innocence must be such an escape from the drudgery of life as a Japanese adult. I know some adults have a pretty decent life, but my impression is that it’s the minority. Even my former sensei told me that Japan is a very depressed country.

I think I fell into this trap too, myself. I don’t like my culture because it fetishizes youth, but a much more gritty, worldly, sexualized version. And of course you can find that in Japan too if you want – and unfortunately too easily. But they seem to, more than anything, just want to live youth vicariously through and with their favorite idol, manga, or anime characters. And as much as I’d like to say I don’t understand that, I do. All too well, frankly.

If you pull the youth fetishization out of Japanese culture, what do you have left to explore? A lot, I suppose. But you kind of have to dig for it. And try not to be depressed by the gritty reality of the culture that lies underneath the school uniforms and cute faces. I think this might be the primary reason I lost interest.

Japanese Culture: The Seduction of Exoticism

Over the past few years, My thoughts on Japanese culture have taken a very definite arc. I started out with a general sense of admiration, but then decided that I wanted to learn more about their language and culture. I immersed myself into learning as much as I could about it. Unlike some “Otaku” or “Weeaboo”, I always kept a sense of balance about it, but there was always this kind of undefined yearning that I couldn’t quite place.

I’ve never been to Japan, but for some reason, many things about that country held a great deal of appeal for me. I loved the sakura trees, the food, Tokyo, the countryside around Hiroshima. Not everything about the culture appealed to me, but a great deal did.

But as I learned more about the language and culture, I found myself becoming a little bit more jaded. Yes, Japan is a very beautiful country. I think that will always be true. And yes, there are some very beautiful aspects of their culture. That will always be true as well. But I think a part of me began to realize that what attracted me the most about Japan and its culture, is that it’s not here.

I’ve moved all over the United States. I’ve lived in five states. The first time I moved to another state, I moved to a city about 2,500 miles away where I knew no one. My major criteria for finding a place to live was that it was as far away from the place I grew up as I could make it. And I got along there – for a little while.

But eventually everything caught up with me. The challenges of establishing myself in a new place were enough to stave it all off for a little while, and I was even kind of happy for a little while, but it caught up. And soon I found myself picking up and moving to the next place. Always running away from my problems, always running away from myself. Eventually I ended up here, but with the realization that I couldn’t run away from my problems, and with the realization also that my culture is my culture and it’s always going to be my culture.

Japan was, and is, just another step in that journey of running away from myself and my culture.

Japan is, by Western standards, a very exotic place. They do many things very differently than we do. But at the end of the day, they’re still people, and the more I become familiar with Japanese culture, the more I realize that the exotic aspects are just an illusion. It’s a different language, a different country, a different culture, a different way of doing things, but at the end of the day, I’d still want to run away from there too once I got established. So what would be the point?

This is also, I think, why I have so little respect for “Otaku” and “weeaboo” culture. They are running away, too. And there’s many aspects of the Japanese touristy culture that encourage this. But you can’t escape. You can’t run away. And eventually you’re hit square between the eyes with the realization that what you’re pining or is no better than that which you’ve left.

And what then?

My motivations for learning Japanese were not wrong, per se. But they were always going to lead to this outcome. Maybe I’ve never been to Japan, but I’ve been immersed in it for the past few years sufficiently that it lost it’s exoticism, and all that’s left now is the realization that they’re just like me. I can’t escape there anymore. Maybe I will continue studying, but my motivation must be entirely rethought.

Basing any decision on any variant of “I’m running away from my own issues” is a recipe for disaster.

An Update on Japanese

So, I’ve gone all over the place on this blog, and I haven’t posted about Japanese for a long time. And I kinda don’t want to, really. But this blog is ostensibly about Japanese, so, I guess I’ll write about that.

I’ve lost all interest.

True, if I abandon Japanese for much longer, I’ll start to forget it, and it’s a useful enough skill that I don’t want that to happen, but I’ve lost interest in Japanese, I’ve lost interest in Japanese culture, I’ve lost interest in Japan. All of it, I just really don’t care anymore. It’s not even an interesting topic.

There are, I suppose, reasons for this. There’s an English saying “familiarity breeds contempt”, and it’s very possible that I’ve studied Japan and Japanese enough that it’s just been incorporated into my world, and is now just something that exists, like pickup trucks in Texas and idiots on the Internet. It could be that I’m just frustrated with the fact that every time I’ve tried to speak Japanese with someone it’s been a disaster, and I’m not even sure whose fault it is. It could just be that I’ve learned everything I really want to know. And it could be that, at the end of the day, it’s not my culture and I’m an outsider, and all the learning I do isn’t going to change that fact.

Or it could just be that I’m lazy af.

I don’t know. I’m not even sure I care enough to dig into it. But I haven’t done any real study for months, and I don’t see it resuming anytime soon. It’s just a disaster and I don’t see any way out.

Will I resume Japanese? Probably. I don’t want to learn what I already have learned, and the only way to maintain is to continue to train my brain for the language. But I’m having to really push myself hard now, and I just don’t have the will or energy for it.

Not gonna change this blog name anytime soon, though. I guess I will when I completely give up.

Rising Above the Problem

The last week has been troublesome. So much so that I have several posts I’ve left on the cutting room floor, because I was too deep in the problem to make a coherent post. I could have posted those, but they would have caused more damage than they would have helped me. So, having had a few days to think, Here I am.

Over the past week, I’ve had several rounds of bad news. The most impactful to me is that I learned that a medical condition I have that wasn’t too severe, has worsened. It wouldn’t be accurate to say it’s become severe, but it would be accurate to say that it has that potential, and soon, without some changes in lifestyle. I don’t really want to go into what that diagnosis is. That’s not germane to anything. Let’s just say I have to change what and how I eat, and exercise more.

Maybe you can guess from that. Please do congratulate yourself on how smart you are, and don’t speculate here.

So, from this, I learned something about myself. I have a very specifically directed rage problem. I know you’ve seen my “moderately pissed off” state of being, but I mean, rage. At one point last week, I was so pissed off at the world in general that I was (figuratively, but only barely so) ready to rip the head off of anyone who crossed me.

While that was happening, there was very little I could do with it other than ride it out.

But afterwards, I thought about the problem. What about this situation made me so angry?

(This is a tip for life, by the way. The first step to rising above something and seeing it from a different perspective is to start asking questions)

Having thought about it for a little bit, I realized that it was, essentially, a systematic denial of my humanity as a child.

I mentioned earlier that, while I do not agree with atheists (and vociferously so), I feel they have some good points that do need to be addressed by those that, well, aren’t atheists. One of those points relates to our humanity. Some things are just… human. We eat, we sleep, we do things, we have sex and children, and then we die. All of these things are human. In the sense that they relate to the vessel of a sacred entity that inhabits it, I suppose there’s some sacred aspects to it, but generally, not. There’s really nothing sacred about being human. It’s dirty, it’s messy, its smelly, and sometimes it’s even beautiul.

But why do we insist on treating things as if they were?

Nearly all human pursuits are done in the context of humanity. Eating, sleeping, sex, everything. it’s all in a temporal context. It’s things we need to be able to do for our body to survive in this world, but this is with the full knowledge that our bodies will, eventually, die. There’s nothing whatsoever permanent about them, and there’s nothing at all useful about behaving as if there were. We treat our bodily needs and desires as if they were sacred, when they’re just as transitive as our bodies are. There’s a reason why hunger is a cyclical thing – all kinds of hunger.

But there is a sacred aspect to it all – one thing that can be taken away from this life once we’ve left it. And that’s memories, and/or experience. (The argument as to whether memories are purely physical can be left for another time – it can’t be proven either way.) So, it follows that the one sacred thing in this life is the experience, lessons, etc., that we can take away from this life. Learning how to be human, I suppose, one life at a time.

So the sacred part is respecting the journey of the other entities that are on this trip through the temporal realms with us.

You don’t feed someone because it will keep them alive. You feed someone because it is respecting the fact that their body needs food to survive, and their journey shouldn’t be dependent on available resources. (It is, sometimes, but it shouldn’t be). You do nothing for a person, including yourself, because it’s a sacred thing of itself, because it isn’t. But you do it because you are respectful of your journey, and you’re respectful of the journey of others, and you know that any damage you do now might take several lifetimes to overcome.

So back to the topic: I am angry because I was not respected enough to be treated as if my journey had any value.

I had many things that I wanted to do as a child. I wanted to run a company. I wanted to be a chemist (not pharmacist, the American definition). I wanted to be an engineer. There were so many things I wanted to do, and I was stopped at every turn because what I wanted meant nothing to anybody. On a more human level, I wanted to eventually find a gilfriend, but that was taken away too, because I was taught that that kind of thing was wrong and that you had to go about it in a very specific way – that was unavailable to me because of the way I was raised. At some point I realized that all hope for the future – to be who I wanted to be, who I could be – was gone, and it was taken away from me.

Of course I was angry.

So when I got this bad news, I felt like I was just a step or two closer to having all of these things permanently closed off.

I hate the people who did that to me.

And who understands this? Certainly no one who identifies with any of the major political parties, or even religious sects. Trying to ascribe sacredness to something that dies is the essence of satanism, and it doesn’t even matter what it is. But if you approach it more with assigning sacredness to that which does not die, and then respecting the ownership of the transient by the permanent, well, then, you’re on the way, I guess.

When it came to me, no one cared about that part of me that they couldn’t control. Their own short sightedness may have destroyed any chance I have to fulfill my purpose for this life. And, does that not deserve all the rage one can muster?

Financial Literacy 101: What Everyone Needs to Know

Recently, I’ve been learning a great deal about how finances work. It’s a difficult topic, and that’s mostly because there are a lot of people out there with a vested interest in misleading you or even outright lying to you. Let’s be real – I could be one. But I’m just a regular Joe (not my real name!) who has decided to become more familiar with the world of finances, and I thought I’d share with y’all what I learn. Now let’s be clear: this is not financial advice. I’m not qualified for that. But maybe I can at least help with the right mindset.

Precept 1: More information is always better, especially when it comes to your personal finances. How closely you have to hew to a budget is a function of how stable your financial situation is, but even knowing how much you’ve busted the budget for a month is very valuable. First you have to take an honest and unbiased look at your finances before you can start making good decisions. When you’re first starting, you can even make a budget that you have no intention of keeping to. How you busted it is still a valuable thing to know.

Precept 2: How you handle money is directly tied to your mental health. This is a tough idea to get one’s mind around, so let me put it a different way: the way you approach money and finances can expose mental issues you weren’t aware of. That’s why having more information is important, as I mentioned above. You’re, indirectly, starting to understand how your mind works. This is also, though, why you need to show yourself some grace, particularly as you get used to the process.

For me, for example, I found that I have a particular aversion to risk. It causes me fear. I was able to trace that back to a few events in my past. I can’t honestly say I’ve dealt with them, but by understanding them I can take a more healthy approach to risk. That could lead to my losing some money, but it’s worth it to be able to deal with those issues.

Precept 3: Anything that appears to be too good to be true, is. Ever since Facebook figured out that I’m interested in investing, etc., they’ve been tossing a lot of products at me. Some of them actually look really appealing at first glance. But as I looked closer, I realized that they were either snake oil or had some significant downsides that were being glossed over. Sometimes those downsides are hard to see, which leads me to the next precept:

Precept 4: If you are careful, people trying to sell you something can be a free source of significant education. I have one guy right now trying to sell me some kind of investment life insurance. He made his pitch, and it was quite attractive. So I said “thanks, we’ll be in touch”, asked someone else for their opinion, sat down, and did my homework. Ultimately I’m likely to pass, but because of all that homework and research, I’m in a significantly more knowledegable place than I was a few days ago. And not only was the education free, the guy was chomping at the bit to give it to me.

You have to be careful with this one, though. It requires the correct mindset, which is: first, taking the seller seriously. If you’re just playing him or her, that’s not respectful. Second, doing your research with the specific idea of finding the flaw(s) in whatever the person is selling. There are always flaws. Once you find them, you can have a back and forth addressing those flaws, and that’s where your education comes from. And thirdly, you have to be prepared, or even predisposed, to decline. You’re trying to punch holes in it, not get suckered in. If, after doing your homework, you still find it attractive, go for it. But you’re in it, first and foremost, for the education.

For example, with the investment product the guy I’m talking to is selling, it can be attractive and has significant upsides – but not for my particular situation. It took me a while to figure out why, but once I did, it was clear as day. It’s not for me.

Precept 5: this is the most important precept: it’s all about mindset. There is a mindset for being in poverty, there is a mindset for getting along, and there is a mindset for making money. They are not the same mindset by any means. It’s a matter of priority. Getting out of poverty can be very, very difficult. I’m not meaning to diminish that. But changing your mindset is the way towards accomplishing that. If I had to give a single word to what the difference between those mindsets are, it’s “intention”, and the other word would be “choice”. Those in poverty do have significantly fewer choice, but there’s choice nonetheless. Is your intention to make your situation better? Is your choice to make your situation better? If so, then you’re going to make your situation better. It just takes a bit of time and making good (and maybe somewhat unconventional) choices. Which leads me to the next precept:

Precept 6: Don’t be afraid to shake the box. This one’s maybe the hardest because it’s really hard to think outside what you’re used to. But if you don’t like the choices you have, you have to create different ones. Sometimes that’s a lot harder than other times, but it’s always possible. For example, I don’t like crypto, and I don’t trust it. But I bought a few hundred dogecoins anyway. Is that a good investment? Probably not. I might lose it all. But it might take off too. I made a measured choice I wasn’t entirely comfortable with, knowing it may not pan out, but also knowing that it might lead to a good outcome in the future. I shook the box.

And shaking the box might take other forms as well. It’s mostly about creating a choice where there didn’t seem to be one previously. But it requires some creativity, a lot of knowledge, and a good mindset.

Precept 7: It’s all psychological. Money is a manifestation of collective psychology, and nothing more. Understand how it works, and you already have a leg up, because probably ninety percent of the players who think they understand this, don’t. Always Be Learning. Learn what makes people tick, learn why they make the decisions they do, learn why you make the decisions you do, and learn how to not be taken in by a collective delusion. You do that, generally, you win.

It’s hard. All of this is hard. I’m not going to pretend to have mastered any of it, I’m fairly new myself. But, as Scott Adams would say, it’s systems, not goals. Understand how it all works, learn more about it, decide what you want to accomplish, and nothing will be closed to you. The more you learn, the more you understand, the more you put into practice, the more measured and deliberate you are, the more you’ll accomplish.

But the first thing you gotta do is change your mindset.

I Don’t Care what you Think your Identity is

My train of thought gets kind of complicated – when it’s not derailing.

Following on from my last post about boundaries, this leads to another set of thoughts about consent. There is a train of thought that has gained popularity lately that if two or more people consent to something, it’s none of anyone’s business.

Generally, I actually agree with this.

But it has its own set of difficulties.

So let’s take that idea and stretch it a little bit.

Starting with the basics of consent, you have two people “doing the nasty” in a way that I, as a third party, wouldn’t approve of. The two people have consented and I’m being left alone. Alright. Consent is a perfectly good benchmark in this situation. Stipulated.

Let’s stretch this a bit now. Let’s say that these two people are “doing the nasty” in that same way I wouldn’t approve of, but now they’re doing it in front of me. Let’s also say, for the sake of this discussion, that I have no reason to expect them to do that in this particular place or time, I’m just minding my own business, and there are two people being disgusting. Now my consent has become an issue, as I didn’t consent to participating in such an event, even if my participation is just limited to seeing it happen in front of me. Consent has just become much stickier (pardon the pun), because now there are three parties that should consent, and two of them have ignored the third. This is the situation that many people find themselves in in “Pride” or other similar events. We don’t care, but they’re insistent on shoving it down our throats, pardon the expression.

Am I harmed? Not really. I can walk away from the situation. It is, however, a violation, and I didn’t consent. This is the very reason that there are public decency laws, amongst other types.

Okay, let’s stretch it again. Let’s say that someone has modified their body in a way that makes it clear that they view themselves in a specific way. So far, so good. They consented to that, there’s no reason whatsoever to condemn that action. Let’s say they have added goat horns. Now, they walk up to someone else and demand that they be treated as if they were a goat.

Now consent gets very tricky. The person who is approached has no interest in treating the person as if they were a goat, as they aren’t one. The third party person did not consent to their worldview which specifically states that humans cannot be a goat being challenged. They still believe that humans cannot be a goat. But right in front of them is someone who is telling them that they identify as a goat, and that therefore they have a right to demand that someone else, without their consent, treat them as a goat.

And this is the problem – and the obvious problem – with self-identification. Many times the person who is self-identifying knows what they are. And just as often, they don’t.

So here’s the issue. The person who is standing in front of the person with goat horns does not see a goat. They see a mentally ill person who thinks they’re a goat. Why should that person be expected to treat mental illness as if it’s not?

So I’m sure you’ve already extrapolated what I’m saying to some modern social issues. Don’t. I was specifically avoiding those. My point is not to condemn any particular type of self-identification (except, perhaps, trans-goatism) but it’s instead to point out that demanding that your form of self-identification be respected without concern for what it actually is is a problem with consent. Others have not necessarily consented to how they view your self identification. And if you want them to do so, you have to negotiate.

Now, let’s apply that to a real world situation. Specifically, transgenderism. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how and when I would use the preferred pronouns, and this is what I’ve kind of come up with. If you’re making a good faith attempt to pass, I’ll go along with it. I won’t necessarily agree, but I’ll go along with it.

Caitlin Jenner, for example, I think I would call “she”. Not because she asked me to, but because she’s obviously making a good faith effort to pass, doing a reasonably decent job of it, and I’m good with that. Do I think of her as a “she” inside my head? My business, but I think it’s fair to say “maybe not”. That’s not your business.

Now there’s this person named Danielle Muscado who called himself a “she”, but has not transitioned (or at least hasn’t the last time I looked, which was a while ago). You would walk up to him on the street and never know unless he told you. That’s a “he”. He fails the negotiation. If he transitions at some point, then I will renegotiate, and maybe use the preferred pronouns.

Point being, I get to consent. It’s my choice.

Note that I used the name, though. In all cases will I use the preferred name. The legal name is not really something I consider something I need to consent to. I could. I could choose to “deadname” someone and there’s not a damn thing they could do about it. But I won’t. It’s not really respectful and while names can be gendered, they usually won’t. It’s still my choice, though. You get to ask. And I get to say yes. Or no.

Self identification is a wonderful thing. If someone wants to say they’re the opposite gender, or a goat, or a cheese sandwich, more power to them. But I don’t have to consent, and you can’t make me.

And that’s how we come full circle to boundaries. I don’t just get to choose what to let into my boundaries. I also get to choose which ideas. And this is why boundaries are so important.

Boundaries are Critical

There are many lessons that I could impart that I’ve learned in life over the last mumble-mumble years. Most of these lessons are not obvious, and they’re all very hard learned.

But I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned relates to boundaries. How important they are, and how few people actually understand how important they are.

What is a boundary? Well, we could go by the definition in any dictionary, but it’s not really helpful for my purposes. I think I’d define a boundary as “A line, set by a person, that other people are not allowed to cross without the setter’s permission.”

I am writing about boundaries, because I want to explain exactly why I posted what I did previously, and why I think it’s so important that I do so.

What you witnessed was a process that you generally will not see play out in real time.

In the first post about discussing theology with atheists, I set a very clear boundary, stating clearly what I would and would not do, and I explained why. I am a little on the fence about whether the way I did it was healthy, but I believe that doing it, in itself, was healthy. I said, to quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “The line must be drawn heah! Heah, and no further!” While the fact that I set the boundary was far more important than the reason, I explained the reason anyway, because I think it’s important that when you set a boundary, to give as much of a reason for doing so as you’re comfortable with.

So, essentially (tl;dr) I set a boundary.

Someone then came into my comment section and tried to violate the boundary. These particular boundaries are somewhat offensive to certain types of people, because to respect someone’s boundaries is to cede control to them. This particular boundary – stating the conditions under which I would discuss a particular topic – was claiming a kind of control which I’m not allowed to have. So I was essentially (lightly) abused for daring to set that boundary.

For weak people that attempt would have worked. Typically, someone will defend themselves after being called such a name, maybe saying “I’m not a coward!”, or some other defense, and by engaging that kind of conversation, you’re allowing the boundary you set to be violated. It’s not a clear or obvious violation, because the discussion isn’t quite about the boundary you set, but it’s an inroad. Once you’re on the defensive, it’s a simple matter to turn the conversation where you want to go, and then your boundary has been violated. And maybe you don’t even realize it.

This is how many controlling people, particularly leftists, attempt to violate your boundaries and control conversations, by the way. They’ll use terms like “racist” and “nazi”, and the minute you try to defend yourself, they’ve won, because your boundaries have been violated, and they’ve taken control of the conversation by abusing you.

So, young grasshoppers, examine what I did.

I did not even entertain what I was called. I didn’t care that I was called a “coward”, and instead, I just shut the conversation down, and brutally. I responded to the commenter with a mocking comment, I blocked the commenter, and then I posted (I didn’t have to do this, and it would probably be better if I didn’t, but I get to have a little fun if I want) that no, I set these boundaries, they are important to me, and you do not get to violate them without my permission. There was no discussion about whether I was a coward (I don’t think I am, but I could very well shrug and say, “yeah, so?”), there was no discussion about the merits, or lack thereof, of the commenter. I enforced my boundaries ruthlessly.

At this point, the abuser (and I consider the commenter that) has only a couple of choices. They can forcibly try to destroy those boundaries (this is what bullies do) or they can slink away with their tail between their legs. They really can’t do anything else. I haven’t given them that option.

People right now don’t understand what boundaries are, and the don’t understand how important they are. You see this all the time in so many contexts. Women have their boundaries systematically destroyed by men around them, until they are not only used to, but welcome, having their hearts and bodies systematically violated. Those that understand the need for boundaries but don’t have any experience with them might, instead, lash out, and create unhealthy boundaries (accusing people of doing things that they didn’t do, for example). It take a long time to understand how to build healthy boundaries, and too many people right now don’t have that understanding – or even the concept that boundaries are even a thing, much less healthy.

My boundaries are very close to inviolable, and I have no interest in allowing anyone to ever penetrate them without my consent. This is why the criticisms of “people of color” just roll right of me – I have decided that I am not interested in submitting to their view of me, so they have only either the choice of trying to forcibly destroy my boundaries, shutting me up, or slinking away. I haven’t given them any other choices, and that’s by design.

It’s a very powerful thing! Somewhat risky, but powerful. It’s risky because violation of boundaries and attempts to control are very much interrelated – one leads to the other. If you don’t allow yourself to be controlled, some people will attempt to force that control. And they may even be able to succeed – with your body. No other part of you will ever be broken without your permission.

Setting boundaries, and enforcing them, is the most powerful thing you can possibly do. Set healthy boundaries, recognize when someone is trying to violate them, and don’t ever let them.

You Have no Right

A couple of posts ago, I posted about how I will no longer discuss theology with atheists. The cliff’s notes reason why is that I consider it to be a waste of time, as their mind is made up and all they ever try to do is beat you over the head with their impotent version of logic, and treat you like you’re an idiot while they do so. Somehow they think that this will win people over to them, which leads me to believe they’re not playing with a full deck.

Predictably, some Very Brilliant Atheist Who Knows Much More Than I Do decided to comment on my blog and call me a coward for refusing to do so. This, of course, doesn’t bother me. But at the same time, the entitled attitude is worthy of calling out, so I shall.

Let me make one thing as perfectly and absolutely clear as I possibly can: No one, and I mean NO ONE, has a right to my attention if I choose not to give it.

Mark Twain said a long time ago, “Never argue with an idiot, for they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”. And, quite frankly, that’s what the kind of atheist who would call someone a coward for refusing to engage with someone like them does. They seem to think that I, as a Christian or whatever they think I am, am somehow obligated to interact with them on any level that they demand I interact with them. They want to debate? Well, I’d better damn well debate then or they might, horrors, think I’m a coward. They want to discuss theology with me? Guess I’d better hop to it then. After all, I’m just a lowly Christian, I only exist for their entertainment.

That is NOT how it works. I don’t know how you think Christians should behave, but here’s how it works. You bait me, I tell you to fuck off, you go away. Nothing more, or less, than that. If I don’t want to interact with you on a topic, I will not interact with you on a topic, and whether you think I’m a coward is not material in the slightest, because I don’t care. I respect atheists. Atheists matter to me as people. Their opinions don’t, not at all, not even a little tiny bit. They can go on and do their atheist thing and talk amongst themselves and argue with willing Christians, and they can leave me the fuck alone. That’s how it’s going to work.

I blocked that commenter. And I will block any other commenter who comes here itching for a debate. I wil not debate you, I will not discuss with you, and you may go away.

I hope with this I’ve made myself sufficiently clear. Go bother someone who cares.

Why I am Now a Disney Shareholder

Recently, I have decided to get into buying stocks.

Honestly, I don’t buy stocks to make money. I think timing the market is dumb, I think chasing the market is dumber, and I’m not particularly interested in buying and selling stocks on anything but a long term basis.

So why did I buy a share of Disney and two shares of Coca-Cola recently?

Here’s the truth about stocks: most people don’t really know what they’re for. Many people treat stocks speculatively, and there’s certainly an argument to be made for doing so by those who wish to do so, but a stock is actually a share of ownership in a company. By buying those stocks, I became a part owner of Coca-Cola and Disney.

And shareholders have the kind of voice with a company that non-shareholders don’t.

I’m not stupid. I have no illusions that a one share stockholder like me is going to have any kind of outsized voice in the company. Truth is, I’ll have very little voice. But it still buys me a voice I wouldn’t have otherwise. And the price of buying the voice in the company is one share of stock.

They don’t have to listen to me, but they do have to let me speak. Owning a share grants me that much, anyway.

And I will tell them, in no uncertain terms, that their anti-racist woke tomfoolery is stupid, harming the value of my share, and they really should stop it.

There are some more companies that I will buy as money becomes available. I will buy Nike, American Airlines, and Twitter, as well as few others. And I’ll make a bit of a pain of myself with them as well. If I’m going to spend that kind of money to get a voice, I fully intend on using it.

I call this shareholder activism, and frankly, I don’t know why more people don’t do it.

Though I guess I’ll shortly find out.

The honest truth, though? I never had any intention of making money with these stocks. I bought them for the voice. And I have no intention of ever selling them. But I guess a dividend is a nice little bonus, small as it may be.