It seems to be a part of human nature to try and divide other humans into two groups. The groups can be “my family/tribe/nation” and “everyone else” or liberal/conservative, believer/infidel, male/female, comprehension of binary, or any number of others. I think that one of the fundamental divisions is the one between the people who show or say and the people who do.

There’s a kipling poem called “The Sons of Martha” that many of my friends and acquaintances identify with as soon as someone shows them it – even many who would, in these gender diverse times, be counted as “daughters of Martha”. The Sons of Martha are the doers. They are the ones that

…say to mountains, “Be ye removèd.” They say to the lesser floods “Be dry.”
Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd—they are not afraid of that which is high.

They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
They do not teach that His Pity allows them to leave their job when they damn-well choose.

In other words they are the ones that build things and make sure they work for everyone including the Sons of Mary.

You can see the difference between the two groups when there’s a tragedy like the one in Florida. The Sons of Mary are the ones that prefer to virtue signal, hold marches, campaign for “assault weapon” bans and so on. The Sons of Martha are the ones who point out that all that activity is useless (or possibly even actively harmful) when it comes to actually solving the problem of school shootings. The Sons of Martha come to a debate armed with facts, statistics and the results of experiments. The Sons of Mary come armed with feelings and good intentions.

The Sons of Mary (or in this case I believe daughter – though I am possibly guilty of assuming xir gender) have signs like the one above. The Sons of Martha look at that sign and pick holes in every single statement, starting with the implicit assumption that no form of assistance to the needy is possible without government provision of it.

The Sons of Mary look at a school shooting and instantly want to remove guns from everyone except designated law enforcement personnel on duty. The Sons of Martha look at the shooting and wonder why the shooter decided to act, then look at his history of interactions with Law Enforcement, Mental Health, Social Services etc. and note that all of the above ignored him when he

  1. Explicitly stated he wanted to be a school shooter
  2. Exhibited classic mental health warning signs such as the killing of pets
  3. Was the subject of numerous reports from people who knew him to reported all sorts of issues included the above two

They also look at the data on mass shootings and note that this data does not correspond with the hype in the media and so on. At this point the Sons of Martha have a whole list of things to work on to stop mass school shootings, from staff with concealed carry to improved mental health treatments and probably half a dozen other concrete proposals, none of which involve the wearing of pink hats or marches demanding the disarming of lawabiding citizens while listening to this decades equivalent of a Hitler Youth leader


Of course it isn’t just school shootings where we notice the difference. Take the UN or the EU or other transnational institutions. The Sons of Mary love these institutions because they promise to do so many wonderful things: stop wars, enrich the world, prevent dictatorships etc. The Sons of Martha, on the other hand, think that the actual UN and EU as they exist now in the real world are a disaster that frequently make problems worse, enable pedophiles and other scummy lowlifes, while resisting all criticism and attempts at reform.

Likewise with “Glowball Worming”. It’s not that the Sons of Martha don’t necessarily believe that the climate changes, its more that they don’t buy into the panic about the ice caps melting and oceans boiling and that this is caused by humans. Typically they also take a look at the proposed solutions beloved by the Sons of Mary and note that most of them seem heavy on the signalling but unlikely to anything meaningful to actually reduce CO2, glowball worming or anything other than the bank balances of the poor who need to travel, heat their houses, cook etc.

And let’s not forget the war on women. The Sons of Mary tweet #metoo and #BringBackOurGirls and are content that they have done their duty. The Sons of Martha note that these are completely ineffective on their own – witness how effective the latter was in freeing the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls (hint: it wasn’t) – and prefer options like teaching women to shoot, fight back and #resist their assailants.

In other words the Sons of Martha think that you fix problems by discussing potential solutions, then experimenting to see what works and implementing the working solution more widely while checking for side-effects etc. etc. This is a bit more complicated than #hastagFixProblem and often, because the reasons why are complicated, the solutions cannot be easily summarized into a tweet, #hashtag or meme.

There is a good case to be made that 90% of human progress, and particularly the progress made since the Industrial Revolution is due to the Sons of Martha. It would be a good thing if the Sons of Mary remembered that.

And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd – they know the angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the Feet – they hear the Word – they see how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and – the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons !