How Should We Talk to Eve?

 

I used to wonder there wasn’t another character present to argue against the fruit-eating option in the story of the Garden of Eden. Maybe an angel or some talking animal to counter the serpent’s smooth rap about becoming like gods or whatever he was selling. But then I thought more about it and realized that it probably would not have worked. The choice as Eve saw it was a pretty good status quo versus a fantastic upgrade with no downside. Apparently, under the applicable disclosure rules, the no-apple side could not really present the whole pain-suffering-outside-of-the-garden as an outcome. The garden is great, and you could even make it better with what you are learning. Not a sexy alternative to being like gods when you look at it. The other relevant argument: Consider the sources here: the one who said don’t eat it versus some sketchy, verbose reptile. The good guys would likely lose on this point because the snake’s identity/criminal record was apparently also inadmissible.

We tend to unfairly dump on Eve and her idiot husband, but that is hypocritical in that many of us continue to go for the magic apple instead of just making the garden better. We still have not learned that lesson. In the political realm, the snake promises us utopia and gives us the USSR or Venezuela. On only a slightly smaller scale of stupidity, our urban populations continually vote for/legislate/regulate in the name of a grand vision of social justice and instead wind up with horrific public housing, crime, and parks full of homeless addicts and schizophrenics. Urban America has left the garden.

How does one make the pitch that the garden is actually not bad and the way to make it better requires work with no fake magic solutions, and that personal responsibility and freedom are key ingredients? Not very sexy or consonant with the “vision thing” as our 41st president might have framed it. Who wants tradeoffs when they could have solutions?

Consider that the quality of life in the Western world (and increasingly elsewhere on the planet) has never been better at any time or place in human history, and yet many believe the planet (and the USA in particular) is a hate-filled hellhole on the verge of environmental collapse. It is as if the snake is doubling down by trying to convince Eve that the garden sucks — and she’s buying it.

Like the missing advocate in the “forbidden fruit” story, the anti-mirage side (that’d be us, Ricochetti) is virtually precluded from pointing out that statism and its functional equivalents and versions never work because we will be told that the repeated catastrophes were not “real” socialism or some other ideal “ism” hanging off that tree.

And it is still about Eve making the choice because without a default, 55% of the women’s vote is going to apple-peddlers the snake would lose to most or all of the time. So how do we make that pitch?

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  1. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Old Bathos: How does one make the pitch that the garden is actually not bad and the way to make it better requires work with no fake magic solutions and that personal responsibility and freedom are key ingredients?

    Conservatism!  It is easier to tear down with “progressive” choices than to remain in a conservative paradise.  ;-)

    I have all the sympathy in the world for Adam and Eve.  There is nothing in any human being that I have ever met that would indicate they would not have fallen as well, including myself.

    • #1
  2. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Manny (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: How does one make the pitch that the garden is actually not bad and the way to make it better requires work with no fake magic solutions and that personal responsibility and freedom are key ingredients?

    Conservatism! It is easier to tear down with “progressive” choices than to remain in a conservative paradise. ;-)

    Actually I was trying to echo Roger Scruton: “the conviction that good things are more easily destroyed than created.”

    • #2
  3. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    Old Bathos: I used to wonder there wasn’t another character present to argue against the fruit-eating option

    Wasn’t God enough? 

     

    That said, some people’s idea of paradise is being part of a group of elites controlling the lives of lowers. 

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I think we need to talk about the children. Even for those of us who don’t have kids, I’d like to think that most of us have compassion for them, particularly in these difficult times. Whether they have to endure the threat of Covid, masks, racism, CRT, we need to try to ensure that they have a childhood, for pete’s sake! They don’t deserve to grow up in fear, especially mindless and irrational fear. I would hope that would be an approach that might touch the hearts of women, whether they are on the Left or Right.

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    OB, this is a great post and a great question.

    If you’re asking me how to convince a woman how to do anything, I’m at a loss, even after 31 years of marriage.  In my case, early in our marriage, I was pretty strident politically (conservatarian at the time), while my wife was more moderate or maybe undecided.  I used to argue the points.  You all probably know how that went, and what a joy it is to argue with me.  After a relatively brief time, I just gave up and stopped arguing about it.  She then became a Rush fan — no, not the band — and is now a MAGA gal.

    • #5
  6. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    OB, this is a great post and a great question.

    If you’re asking me how to convince a woman how to do anything, I’m at a loss, even after 31 years of marriage. In my case, early in our marriage, I was pretty strident politically (conservatarian at the time), while my wife was more moderate or maybe undecided. I used to argue the points. You all probably know how that went, and what a joy it is to argue with me. After a relatively brief time, I just gave up and stopped arguing about it. She then became a Rush fan — no, not the band — and is now a MAGA gal.

    So Eve needed Rush Limbaugh to help her with the decision…lol.

    • #6
  7. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    OB, this is a great post and a great question.

    If you’re asking me how to convince a woman how to do anything, I’m at a loss, even after 31 years of marriage. In my case, early in our marriage, I was pretty strident politically (conservatarian at the time), while my wife was more moderate or maybe undecided. I used to argue the points. You all probably know how that went, and what a joy it is to argue with me. After a relatively brief time, I just gave up and stopped arguing about it. She then became a Rush fan — no, not the band — and is now a MAGA gal.

    Not so much convince as reframe.  The best teachers I ever had did not make persuasive arguments but asked/raised questions that took me out of my lamer certainties.  If a rapist like Bill Clinton offers a vision of a better safety net while a decent Republican talks about competition and risk and creative destruction, the rapist wins.  We laugh at Obama’s Life of Julia cartoon but they were not wrong about the impact of that kind of pitch.  How do we reimagine the garden where we actually live?

    • #7
  8. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Great post, OB.

    I wonder if we tend to miss something about the story of the snake and the apple. Many people, perhaps most people, have an aversion to snakes. I can easily imagine someone saying “Why on earth did she trust a snake? It’s a snake, for goodness sake!”

    But a little later in Genesis God curses the snake and tells it that it will crawl on its belly and eat the dust forevermore. What was the snake like before God cursed it?

    Not to be flippant, but I wonder how our sense of Eve’s foolishness — and, by extension, the foolishness of all the modern Adams and Eves eager to make rash choices and throw away our current security — would be different if, rather than a snake, the story had featured some creature we don’t associate with deception and death. Maybe that would have made Eve seem less foolish, and better communicated man’s vulnerability to seduction.

    Not that I’m suggesting we re-write a classic, of course.

    • #8
  9. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Great post, OB.

    I wonder if we tend to miss something about the story of the snake and the apple. Many people, perhaps most people, have an aversion to snakes. I can easily imagine someone saying “Why on earth did she trust a snake? It’s a snake, for goodness sake!”

    But a little later in Genesis God curses the snake and tells it that it will crawl on its belly and eat the dust forevermore. What was the snake like before God cursed it?

    Not to be flippant, but I wonder how our sense of Eve’s foolishness — and, by extension, the foolishness of all the modern Adams and Eves eager to make rash choices and throw away our current security — would be different if, rather than a snake, the story had featured some creature we don’t associate with deception and death. Maybe that would have made Eve seem less foolish, and better communicated man’s vulnerability to seduction.

    Not that I’m suggesting we re-write a classic, of course.

    Ancient mythologies appear to have a much more nuanced view of snakes. The caduceus, the cobra on the pharaohs headgear, the uroboros all indicate a level of mystical fascination that I certainly do not share. 

    • #9
  10. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    OB, this is a great post and a great question.

    If you’re asking me how to convince a woman how to do anything, I’m at a loss, even after 31 years of marriage. In my case, early in our marriage, I was pretty strident politically (conservatarian at the time), while my wife was more moderate or maybe undecided. I used to argue the points. You all probably know how that went, and what a joy it is to argue with me. After a relatively brief time, I just gave up and stopped arguing about it. She then became a Rush fan — no, not the band — and is now a MAGA gal.

    Not so much convince as reframe. The best teachers I ever had did not make persuasive arguments but asked/raised questions that took me out of my lamer certainties. If a rapist like Bill Clinton offers a vision of a better safety net while a decent Republican talks about competition and risk and creative destruction, the rapist wins. We laugh at Obama’s Life of Julia cartoon but they were not wrong about the impact of that kind of pitch. How do we reimagine the garden where we actually live?

    The snake is always selling something. In Julia’s case, she thinks it’s support at no cost to herself. Until she realizes that the cost is not only to some “others,” that she incorrectly believes owe it to her, but that at some point there is a cost to herself, that she should find abhorrent, the snake wins. You can frame all you want, but until Julia becomes less shallow and becomes willing to question her basic assumptions, she will remain amoral, and won’t care about how she gets hers. If there are enough Julias, we lose.

    Some people need to get it good and hard. Julia won’t get it until the Left doesn’t need her vote anymore. By then it’s too late.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Not to be flippant, but I wonder how our sense of Eve’s foolishness — and, by extension, the foolishness of all the modern Adams and Eves eager to make rash choices and throw away our current security — would be different if, rather than a snake, the story had featured some creature we don’t associate with deception and death. Maybe that would have made Eve seem less foolish, and better communicated man’s vulnerability to seduction.

    Maybe it’s also saying how easily we can be tempted, even with someone unpleasant, to do what we shouldn’t. Think of all the women who succumb to violent, nasty men . . . because he wasn’t always that way . . . 

    • #11
  12. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    OB, this is a great post and a great question.

    If you’re asking me how to convince a woman how to do anything, I’m at a loss, even after 31 years of marriage. In my case, early in our marriage, I was pretty strident politically (conservatarian at the time), while my wife was more moderate or maybe undecided. I used to argue the points. You all probably know how that went, and what a joy it is to argue with me. After a relatively brief time, I just gave up and stopped arguing about it. She then became a Rush fan — no, not the band — and is now a MAGA gal.

    Patience pays. :-)

    • #12
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    OB, in response to your #7.  It may help to try to figure out the reason behind the male-female voting gap.

    I’ve done some limited research into the m-f gap in the past.  My recollection is that the divergence in voting emerged around 1980.  Here is a graph from a NY Intelligencer article (full article here) since 1952:

    In this graph, you can see the divergence starting in 1980.  After noting the recent tendency for women to vote more Democratic, the Intelligence article states:

    And yet, a half-century ago, the common sense about women’s political leanings was quite different. Summarizing the conventional wisdom about female voting preferences in 1963, the political scientists Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba wrote, “Wherever the consequences of women’s suffrage have been studied, it would appear that women differ from men in their political behavior only in being somewhat more frequently apathetic, parochial, [and] conservative.”

    I’m going to turn to the 2020 exit polls (here).  My definition of the “gap” will be a bit different, as I will not use the percent voting for the Democrat, but the margin of victory in each subgroup.  Generally, this will approximately double the size of the “gap” compared to the graph above, but it has the advantage of eliminating the effect of third-party voting.

    Overall, the m-f gap was 23%:

    • Men: Trump +8%
    • Women: Biden + 15%

    When looking at voting by sex and marital status, a new pattern appears:

    • Married men: Trump +11%
    • Married women: Trump +4%
    • Unmarried men: Biden +7%
    • Unmarried women: Biden + 27%

    This suggests that the bulk of the m-f gap is attributable to unmarried women.  The m-f gap among married voters was only 7%, while it was 20% among unmarried voters.

    This suggests that the m-f gap is driven by unmarried women voters.  I’m not sure what to do to appeal to them.  It may be less a question of advocacy, and more a question of perceived interest.

    We can also look at the data by sex and race, as follows:

    • White men: Trump +23%
    • White women: Trump +11%  (that’s right, Trump)
    • Black men: Biden +60%
    • Black women: Biden +81%
    • Latino men: Biden +23%
    • Latino women: Biden +39%

    I’m not sure whether this is helpful.  A Republican gain in votes among women could come from any of these racial or ethnic groups.  Interestingly, more white men voted than white women, by a narrow margin.  The opposite was true among blacks and Latinos.  This may explain, in part, the reason that the overall m-f gap is large.

    It does suggest that one possible area of improvement is simply to convince more white women to vote.  Of course, this would only help if the women who didn’t vote would have a voting preference similar to the women who did.

    Overall, it appears plausible that the source of the m-f gap, which emerged around 1980, is the decline of marriage.

     

    • #13
  14. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    It’s an interesting way to look at the situation and pose the question.

    • #14
  15. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    the story had featured some creature we don’t associate with deception and death.

    Like a bunny rabbit?

    • #15
  16. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Great post, OB.

    I wonder if we tend to miss something about the story of the snake and the apple. Many people, perhaps most people, have an aversion to snakes. I can easily imagine someone saying “Why on earth did she trust a snake? It’s a snake, for goodness sake!”

    But a little later in Genesis God curses the snake and tells it that it will crawl on its belly and eat the dust forevermore. What was the snake like before God cursed it?

    Not to be flippant, but I wonder how our sense of Eve’s foolishness — and, by extension, the foolishness of all the modern Adams and Eves eager to make rash choices and throw away our current security — would be different if, rather than a snake, the story had featured some creature we don’t associate with deception and death. Maybe that would have made Eve seem less foolish, and better communicated man’s vulnerability to seduction.

    Not that I’m suggesting we re-write a classic, of course.

    I don’t think your speculation is flippant. What if the reason we associate snakes with deception and death is primarily because of this story? You note that there are hints that the creature did not crawl on its belly before it deceived Eve.  

    • #16
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Great post, OB.

    I wonder if we tend to miss something about the story of the snake and the apple. Many people, perhaps most people, have an aversion to snakes. I can easily imagine someone saying “Why on earth did she trust a snake? It’s a snake, for goodness sake!”

    But a little later in Genesis God curses the snake and tells it that it will crawl on its belly and eat the dust forevermore. What was the snake like before God cursed it?

    Not to be flippant, but I wonder how our sense of Eve’s foolishness — and, by extension, the foolishness of all the modern Adams and Eves eager to make rash choices and throw away our current security — would be different if, rather than a snake, the story had featured some creature we don’t associate with deception and death. Maybe that would have made Eve seem less foolish, and better communicated man’s vulnerability to seduction.

    Not that I’m suggesting we re-write a classic, of course.

    I don’t think your speculation is flippant. What if the reason we associate snakes with deception and death is primarily because of this story? You note that there are hints that the creature did not crawl on its belly before it deceived Eve.

    Have you seen Jordan Peterson’s explanation of this?  It’s part of his whole Maps of Meaning argument.  He views it from a secular and evolutionary perspective, and argues that snakes: (1) presented a danger to children, and (2) presented a danger to our tiny tree-dwelling primate ancestors which caused an innate fear that persists to this day.

    Apparently, chimps also dislike snakes, and the aversion is innate in both chimps and humans, according to Peterson.  Here’s a short clip on the issue (when he was a lot younger):

    • #17
  18. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    It’s good old-fashioned snake oil sold by deception.  The funny thing about the term, which apparently came from Chinese water snakes, is that snake oil is deceptive, just like the serpent. It’s funny (not really) that we have laws that are designed to protect us from deceptive advertising in just about all aspects of our lives except what is perhaps the most important.  

    • #18
  19. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Old Bathos: So how do we make that pitch?

    I think the key may be economic.  I mean Eve was having economic thoughts when she took the apple.  She was aiming to increase her value and the value of her family.  I think most people are still driven by similar passions.  I think making a pitch is the correct method.  The issue is the honest salesmen is almost always at a disadvantage or it seems that way. 

     

    • #19
  20. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Have you seen Jordan Peterson’s explanation of this?  It’s part of his whole Maps of Meaning argument.  He views it from a secular and evolutionary perspective, and argues that snakes: (1) presented a danger to children, and (2) presented a danger to our tiny tree-dwelling primate ancestors which caused an innate fear that persists to this day.

    Apparently, chimps also dislike snakes, and the aversion is innate in both chimps and humans, according to Peterson.  Here’s a short clip on the issue (when he was a lot younger):

    Guys I worked with at military research labs who took care of the the rhesus monkeys used to wear a big rubber snake draped around the neck whenever they had to reach into cages to grab or change something. The monkeys would immediately move to the rear wall of the cage and make some excited noise the other monkeys in the room echoed. The weird thing is that these were second and third generation born in captivity in a breeding program and had never seen a snake.

    • #20
  21. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I noticed one more interesting result from the 2020 exit polls discussed previously.  The results were limited to white voters, but there is a table reporting voting by sex and education among whites:

    • White college graduate women: Biden +9%
    • White women, no degree:  Trump +27% (!!!)
    • White college graduate men: Trump +3%
    • White men, no degree: Trump +42%

    This would indicate that if you want white women to vote sensibly, you might want to keep them out of college.  :)

    In fairness, the differential between these groups was pretty comparable — the college/no college gap was 36% among white women and 39% among white men.  So maybe we’d need to keep men out of college, too.

    That may seem silly, but there may be something to it.  I’ve long had the impression that colleges and universities are, in essence, the Temples of Leftism.  I think that the indoctrination has been most pronounced at the college and university level.  This would explain the large voting gaps between these groups.

    I do think that this gap is new, so it’s probably related to practical interests, as well.  Trump’s agenda appealed more strongly to the working class.

    • #21
  22. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    In fairness, the differential between these groups was pretty comparable — the college/no college gap was 36% among white women and 39% among white men.  So maybe we’d need to keep men out of college, too.

    I bet there are some college majors that are OK (business, engineering, accounting, medical). 

    • #22
  23. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):
    Some people need to get it good and hard. Julia won’t get it until the Left doesn’t need her vote anymore. By then it’s too late.

    People learn a lot more through success than through failure. 

    • #23
  24. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It’s quite amazing that the story goes to the heart, way back then, of human choice.  Follow some simple basic rules or scramble failingly to end up with top down exploitation by those who get to the top, at least for awhile.  The US came as close, at least for fairly large places, as any and it worked.  Shame we blew it. 

    • #24
  25. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I noticed one more interesting result from the 2020 exit polls discussed previously. The results were limited to white voters, but there is a table reporting voting by sex and education among whites:

    • White college graduate women: Biden +9%
    • White women, no degree: Trump +27% (!!!)
    • White college graduate men: Trump +3%
    • White men, no degree: Trump +42%

    This would indicate that if you want white women to vote sensibly, you might want to keep them out of college. :)

    In fairness, the differential between these groups was pretty comparable — the college/no college gap was 36% among white women and 39% among white men. So maybe we’d need to keep men out of college, too.

    That may seem silly, but there may be something to it. I’ve long had the impression that colleges and universities are, in essence, the Temples of Leftism. I think that the indoctrination has been most pronounced at the college and university level. This would explain the large voting gaps between these groups.

    I do think that this gap is new, so it’s probably related to practical interests, as well. Trump’s agenda appealed more strongly to the working class.

    Yes it says more about colleges than about kids.  We don’t do liberal arts well and the rot spreads.  

    • #25
  26. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    Where was Adam when Eve was talking to the serpent? Do women sin (vote Democrat) when they feel neglected or abandoned by men?

    • #26
  27. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Where was Adam when Eve was talking to the serpent? Do women sin (vote Democrat) when they feel neglected or abandoned by men?

    I actually drafted a comment with further elaboration on the story of the Fall, yesterday, then decided not to post it.  The story is interesting.  I’m going to give a quick overview.  The details are interesting.

    God’s command was given to Adam alone.  Eve had not yet been created.  Adam was told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  That tree was in the “midst” of the Garden, but it was not the only tree in the “midst” of the Garden.  The tree of life was also in the “midst” of the Garden.

    This is not stated in the story, but it appears that it was Adam’s responsibility to pass the commandment along to Eve.

    The serpent’s question to Eve was tricky.  “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat from an tree in the garden’?”  God had not said this.  God had commanded that Adam and Eve not eat from one, single tree.

    Eve gets it partially wrong.  She responds that God said they were not to eat from, nor touch, the tree in the “midst” of the Garden.  But God had not prohibited them from touching anything, and as noted above, there were two trees in the “midst” of the Garden, only one of which had forbidden fruit.  The other was the tree of life, and they were not forbidden from eating from that one.

    It’s not clear whether or not Adam was present when Eve was talking to the serpent.  It is clear that Adam was with Eve when she ate the forbidden fruit, and that she gave some to him, and he ate it too.  Eve shouldn’t have done so, and Adam should have stopped her, and Adam should not have joined her.

    I do think that there’s a lesson about male headship in this story, among other lessons.

    • #27
  28. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Where was Adam when Eve was talking to the serpent? Do women sin (vote Democrat) when they feel neglected or abandoned by men?

    Adam was with her.

    • #28
  29. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    Flicker (View Comment):

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Where was Adam when Eve was talking to the serpent? Do women sin (vote Democrat) when they feel neglected or abandoned by men?

    Adam was with her.

    If so, why didn’t Adam push back when the serpent started messing with Eve?

    • #29
  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Where was Adam when Eve was talking to the serpent? Do women sin (vote Democrat) when they feel neglected or abandoned by men?

    Adam was with her.

    If so, why didn’t Adam push back when the serpent started messing with Eve?

    I don’t really agree that Adam was with Eve while she spoke to the serpent, but I don’t really disagree either.  My read of the story is that this is unclear.  It does describe Adam being with Eve when she eats the fruit, which occurs later, and we don’t know how much later.  We also don’t know whether or not the conversation with the serpent occurred at the tree in question, or elsewhere.  At least, not in the translations that I checked.

    • #30