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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Everyone has their Kryptonite

Superman, if you recall, had only one weakness, kryptonite. It's therefore no surprise that practically every single issue of the Superman comic-book had a villain equipped with a supply of it. The list of super powers that Superman supposedly possesses, continues to grow to this day. At some point it just became absurd. In the first Superman movie they had Christopher Reeve flying around the Earth at relativistic speeds and turning back time itself. So let's come right out and say it; this isn't Superman; this is God-man. He has only one weakness, kryptonite. It's too bad one of Superman's powers isn't the ability to detect kryptonite at long range.

Larry Niven wrote an amusing article wherein he illustrated the basic incompatibility of Kryptonians and humans. It's called Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. Buried within the humorous narrative is a seed of truth which I wish to explore. It is the understanding that some people are just not compatible—can never be compatible—with others of a different kind. Thus divorce is inevitable. Therefore, recognizing the kind of kryptonite that can affect you and learning to detect it at long-range is the best defense, especially when it comes to long-term relationships.

Imagine, if you will, a conservative business man, and hobbyist gun collector. We'll call him Adam. He meets a smart, attractive, and vivacious young woman—who's also a true-blue liberal—let's call her Eve. They fall in love, naturally! Why, they're practically a match made in Heaven. Eve is attracted to Adam for his strength, his financial stability, and to a lesser degree his intelligence, looks, and sense of humor. At first she resists talking about politics, and Adam is fine with that. They talk about work and school and hopes and dreams, perhaps about movies, plays, sports, any number of trivial things with absolutely no significance outside of their small insular community. But never imagine for one moment that our dyed-in-the-wool liberal has lost sight of the ball.

In my experience women think of themselves as kind of like quasi-lapidarists. Our business man is a diamond-in-the-rough and Eve is in no hurry. First she must acquire him; next will come the cutting, shaping, and polishing.

In the normal course of human nature, a woman has something that works the same way to most men, as kryptonite does to Superman. The funny thing about a woman's kryptonite is this: it's most powerful if it's never been used before. Once she uses it on a man, it doesn't work against him again for a little while. Additionally, her kryptonite grows less and less powerful as the years go by, until finally it no longer has very much power at all. You guys are probably wondering what kind of kryptonite works on a woman, and I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but it's not what's dangling between your legs.

So in my little hypothetical story we have our pretty little lapidarist who's lassoed herself a big old diamond in the rough. She plans to make him give up his gun hoard and invest in an engagement ring. What arguments do you suppose she can use to influence her man to give up his guns? She'll try logic: "Handguns are only meant for one thing, putting a man six-feet in the ground. Is that what you want to do? Kill somebody?" Her logical theme-song as sung by Lynyrd Skynyrd might sound a little like this:

Hand guns are made for killin'
Ain't no good for nothin' else
And if you like your whiskey
You might even shoot yourself
So why don't we dump 'em people
To the bottom of the sea
Before some fool come around here
Wanna shoot either you or me

Well, it's a good argument in the respect that basically it's true. Handguns are made for killing and they're not good for much else. You can target shoot with them, but then again, if you want to hit targets, why don't you go bowling? Or throw darts?

It's only when conducting the thought experiment—what if there were no guns—that you realize that the world would be a truly evil place without them. Yes, the world would be a twisted hell-on-earth, a dark soulless place filled with fearful men and women subjugated by powerful men with swords, or clubs, or whatever handheld weaponry we're allowing in this, our stupid and pointless little thought experiment.

If tomorrow gunpowder stopped working, men would immediately start hunting for the longest knife they could find. At some point a knife is long enough to be called a sword, and I would argue that a sword is made for killing, ain't good for nothin' else...etc. Do you know how to use a sword? I know...I know...stick them with the pointy end. I wish it were that simple, but suppose they have a shield? Suppose they have not only a shield but armor and a battle-trained warhorse? The picture that is starting to come out of this fetid left-wing Petri-dish of a gunless world thought-experiment looks an awful lot like that period of time that we called the dark-ages. A gun is evil-tyrannical-overlord kryptonite. It's dictator kryptonite. It's bully kryptonite.

Eve's logical argument fails. Adam fully understands that killing is what a gun is good for. He explains to Eve that not only would he give his life for her, but he would take someone else's as well—if he had to.

Eve knows that guns are bad. She has trouble putting her certainty into words but she knows what she knows. Her logical appeal failed so next up is her emotional appeal. This is a potent argument because it makes full use of her kryptonite. "Adam...I don't like all those guns. They're scary evil things and they make me so afraid. They make me afraid of you, Adam, I don't know if I can stay with someone I'm afraid of. If you give them up, your reward will be...well...your reward will"

There is only one defense against this argument that I can think of: righteous anger. Adam turns it around. "Thanks Eve, but no thanks." His defense against Eve's kryptonite is found in the Bible.
Corinthians 6:
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
When Adam is properly married, then and only then, will Eve have the opportunity to see how far she can move Adam away from his conservative standpoint. Adam should let Eve know that her reward should only be offered, and can only be accepted once they're properly married. Once that fact is understood and the power of her kryptonite is put aside, the following becomes his argument:

"Eve, I need my guns. If evil men try to take that which is mine, or hurt me or mine, then these guns are my only protection. Without them I would be afraid. Without them I would be afraid for you. Eve, I don't know if I can marry someone who wants to bind up my arms behind my back and make me helpless against my enemies. I don't know if I can marry someone who believes I would do them harm out of evil or malicious intent. If you say a gun in my hand frightens you, then, mustn't you be equally afraid when I hold a knife, a bat, or even a pencil?"

Keep your selfness in mind as you listen to arguments that sound logical but seem wrong. Let your intuition be your guide. Don't react in anger; don't react in a hurry. Consider carefully what you believe. Never give up your sword and let the Bible be your shield. God knows every man has a weakness. Aren't we blessed that he gave us so many tools to make up for them?

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