Sunday, September 24, 2006

Conservative Parents vs. the New World Order


I think you should know that conservatives think you're a terrible parent. I know that it might hurt to hear this. But just listen to what they have to say with an open mind, OK?

Take talk-radio host Mike Gallagher. When he sees a kid pitch a fit in a restaurant and the parents (“well-heeled, well-dressed”) give in, there’s only one possible conclusion: the parents are liberals! Worse, they’re raising a liberal!

Such permissiveness will set that child up for a lifetime of disappointment and misery. Children want to be taught to do the right thing; they expect us to be in charge. Little Henry is going to grow into a person who figures that if he screams loudly enough, he’ll always get his way. He’ll develop into a person with an overwhelming sense of entitlement.

In other words, he’ll become a liberal.

Hearing from parents on my radio show all the time, there’s a clear distinction between conservative parents and liberal ones. Conservatives believe in the power of spanking….Liberals seem afraid to spank their children…I’ll bet anything that Henry’s parents were a couple of liberal New York Democrats.


Later on in his book, Surrounded by Idiots - I think he’s referring to his listeners, but that’s speculation on my part – Gallagher strikes out at “wacky mothers… who flaunt breast-feeding in crowded places, like restaurants, shopping malls or department stores.” I wonder if breasts are intrinsically liberal? If so, I’m glad Mike is doing something about them. Mike’s got the breast-beat covered for the conservative movement. He’s their breast man.

Betsy Hart, who has breasts but still boasts back-cover quotes from rock-hard conservatives like William J. Bennett and Laura Schlessinger, takes on the whole “parenting culture,” in which “parents are essentially encouraged to idolize their children, to marvel at their inherent wisdom and goodness…and that’s just for starters.”

In her book It Takes a Parent (as opposed to a village – villages are for liberals!), Hart attacks parents who give their kids choices. Choices are liberal and liberal, as we have established, is bad. “Children learn to make wise choices by having wise choices made for them,” she writes. She talks about just ordering food on behalf of all four of her kids in restaurants – no perusing the menu for them! Letting your kids pick items on the menu is liberal, and remember, liberal is bad. She spends a lot of time in her book criticizing bad parents who let their kids pick their own sno-cone flavors.

What’s a conservative parent to do when kids keep insisting on making their own choices? For anyone who reads the Bible literally, that’s an easy question to answer. You beat them.

Let’s say, for example, that your 2-year-old insists on getting out of bed after you’ve told him to stay put. “The youngster should be placed in bed and given a speech,” writes Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, one of the country’s most influential conservatives. “Then when (the child’s) feet touch the floor, give him one swat on the legs with a switch. Put the switch where he can see it, and promise more if he gets up again.”

In some cases, a switch might be too Rockefeller Republican, if you know what I mean. With especially liberal children, you’ll need to head down to Home Depot and buy some quarter-inch plumbing supply line or PVC Pipe.

"If you want a child who will integrate into the New World Order and wait his turn in line for condoms, a government funded abortion, sexually transmitted disease treatment, psychological evaluation and a mark on the forehead," writes pastor Michael Pearl in his book To Train Up a Child, "then follow the popular guidelines in education, entertainment and discipline, but if you want a son or daughter of God, you will have to do it God's way." Though PVC pipe is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, Pearl recommends such "chastisement instruments" as excellent expressions of the Lord's will.

Too extreme? Not with immortal souls at stake. Children, like liberals, are born demons. “As for thinking there is badness in children,” writes right-wing family psychologist John Rosemond, “yes, I most certainly do, and the evidence suggests I am correct… One does not have to teach antisocial behavior to toddlers. They are by nature violent, deceitful, destructive, rebellious and prone to sociopathic rages if they do not get their way.”

In other words, they’re liberals. That’s why you have to beat the little bastards. Keep hitting the rebellious brats until they vote Republican!


[Revised from a post at the Other Magazine blog.]

35 comments:

Rosa said...

Jeeeesus fucking Christ! Let's just kill all the liberals and be done with it!

Crazy Republicans. LOL! They are really, really, really, CRAZY. How can anyone take them seriously?

Granny said...

Part of me is laughing; part of me is terrified they'll take over and nothing will ever be the same.

Although I don't let the kids pitch fits in restaurants either. It escalates, we leave (without the beating, with a doggie bag).

Jeremy Adam Smith said...

Granny: I agree with Gallagher and you that one can't give in to a fit. See? On that one, we're all on the same side. But, as I'm sure you'll agree, it is absurd and politically specious to tag the incident as quintessentially liberal and assume that most liberal, progressive, and radical parents would automatically give in to a fit.

I live in San Francisco and every parent I know can be described as a liberal, but no one I know parents that way. But - and Gallagher's right, this is a key difference - I don't think any of us would spank the child, let alone beat her with PVC pipe. There are other ways to discipline children that don't model violence.

This isn't to say that there aren't problems with lefty parenting; perhaps I'll blog on that another time. But damn, it's better than the alternative!

You know, I tried to write this post as a serious report on conservative parenting; I even planned to draw out a few lessons liberals and lefties could learn from conservatives. But I just couldn't do it. I was so horrified, I just started laughing. And this is what I wrote.

Natalie said...

So, believing your child is intrinsically good and wants to do what’s right if you should him or her how is a horribly liberal thing… It’s more likely that the ones who are told to follow authority without question who will be standing in line for that mark on the forehead, not the liberal kids who have been taught to think for themselves. I feel so sorry for all the kids of parents who believe you have to beat them in order to do what they’re supposed to.

etbnc said...

You know this is exactly what led George Lakoff to write Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think?

Excerpts from the Rockridge Institute web site:

Raising real children

The nation as a family

Cheers

Jeremy Adam Smith said...

The parallels with Lakoff did occur to me; this does serve as a pretty good practical illustration of his ideas -- well, part of them, anyway. (I'd wish I'd seen your links before I wrote this; lots of juicy quotes!)

There's a lot of evidence that what Lakoff calls the "Strict Father" model of childrearing actually hurts kids developmentally. People say, I was raised that way and I turned out fine... but the fact of the matter is, some of them didn't turn out fine and a lot of people never recover; and we'll never be able to understand how much human potential has been lost to abuse and controlling behavior.

Conservative prescriptions for punishment and reward are horrible (hitting a 2-year-old with a switch? what the hell?), but I'm slightly more disturbed by how anti-choice (ahem) they are. Hardcore, Bible-based conservatives dismiss scientific research, but for the rest of us: there is absolutely no question that nurturing, using explanations and reasoning, and encouraging autonomy and creativity results in happier, smarter kids (here are some studies you can look up: Bronfenbrenner, 1958; Gecas, 1979; Alwin, 1984). Saying otherwise is the equivalent of saying that the Earth is flat and only six-thousand years old.

Anonymous said...

Liz here from I Speak of Dreams.

I skipped on over from our mutual pal Badger's.

If you are making the argument that all conservatives advocate spanking and authoritarian styles of parenting, I'd suggest that you are using too small a sample.

You might want to give Love & Logic a look. I guess I would describe Foster Cline, Jim Fay, and Charles Fay as professionally apolitical, but personally conservative.

Here's an introduction .

RULE #1

Adults set firm limits in loving ways without anger, lecture, or threats.

RULE #2

When a child causes a problem the adult hands it back in loving ways

1. In a loving way, the adult holds the child accountable for solving his/her problems in a way that does not make a problem for others.
2. Children are offered choices with limits.
3. Adults use enforceable statements.
4. Adults provide delayed/extended consequences.
5. The adult's empathy is "locked in" before consequences are delivered.

Jeremy Adam Smith said...

Hi Liz!

I looked pretty carefully at Love and Logic. I don't really see their methods as being a product of the conservative movement. The folks I quote in my post all self-identify as conservatives, and one can see the trappings of the conservative movement in how the books are published and marketed - for example, usually by right-wing publishers, explicitly aimed at religious and/or conservative markets, with blurbs from well-known right-wing writers and media personalities. It's also important to note that I aimed my satire at people who have large audiences: James Dobson, for example, is read by millions of people and gets personal thank-you calls from the White House for helping push Republican politicians and policy initiatives. Theirs are the dominant voices when it comes to so-called traditional parenting.

As you indicate, Love and Logic seems a good deal more apolitical, although I suppose you could read their recommendations politically - they certainly would disagree with Hart et al. on many issues. To me they seem mellow and benign, though of course I haven't read any of the books.

You might want to see today's post for a follow-up (Sept. 27).

badgermama said...

I am also stuck in the bitter laughter. They are insane! They're wackier than my breasts!

I became obsessed with Dobson in around 1984, when I found his horrible horrible book on the shelf of my high school guidance counselor's office. Many, many heated arguments were to follow. Of course it was a high school where you could "choose" to take a beating rather than stay after for detention.

A couple of years later I dated that guidance counselor's son and he told me she used to beat him with a 2 x 4.

Fabulous post, Jeremy, as usual, you push thinking about everything way outside of the boundaries... it's a pleasure to read...

Anonymous said...

About your daughter CB's comments, how different is that from the statement from Christian fanatics that only those who "know Christ" can be moral? Goodness, can't we agree that just as there are good Black people and horrible Black people and great White people and god-awful ones and that neither race is "superior" to the other, there are good and bad believers and non-believers and neither group has the monopoly on moral superiority?

I personally am a practising Christian, and I have atheist friends whom I in no way regard as morally inferior to myself. And I doubt that they think the only reason I'm kind of them is because I fear being poked by devils in the afterlife.

In my opinion, religious fanatics and militant atheists are two sides of the same coin. I go by the words of a moderate atheist, Randy Wicker, who said that "Militant atheists are often like the religious harpies they hate." My belief is that the two factions will end up in hell together where they will have to listen to each other proselytize their respective positions for eternity. Then they can debate who is morally superior...

Emilia Liz(emilia_e_murphy@yahoo.ca)

Anonymous said...

About your daughter CB's comments, how different is that from the statement from Christian fanatics that only those who "know Christ" can be moral? Goodness, can't we agree that just as there are good Black people and horrible Black people and good White people and god-awful ones and that neither race is "superior" to the other, shouldn't we realize that there are good and bad believers and non-believers and that neither group has the monopoly on moral superiority?

I personally am a practising Christian, and I have atheist friends whom I in no way regard as morally inferior to me. And I doubt that they think the only reason I'm kind of them is because I fear being poked by devils in the afterlife.

In my opinion, religious fanatics and militant atheists are two sides of the same coin. I go by the words of a moderate atheist, Randy Wicker, who said that "Militant atheists are often like the religious harpies they hate." My belief is that the two factions will end up in hell together where they will have to listen to each other proselytize their respective positions for eternity. Then they can debate who is morally superior...

Emilia Liz(emilia_e_murphy@yahoo.ca)

Maksim Vak said...

hahahahhahahha.

you made me to cry.
laughingly.

Anonymous said...

I was raised by very conservative parents who used to spank me,& I can remember quite clearly I never knew WHY it happened or WHAT i did wrong.

When I got older they used politics against me,psychologically putting me down everytime I reasoned out my opinion just because it was wrong in their eyes or the bible.I could never make my own decisions,otherwise they'd make me feel guilty.

Now even after college I find myself still asking others what I should do instead of trusting myself.I've probably gone through more crap when I left home for college because I became opportunistic & rebellious.

Everywhere I look the more 'liberal' ones have a better sense of themselves and are more successful.Conservative isn't always good,I didn't benefit much from it anyway.I believe liberals tend to use logic/reasoning more often compared to extreme conservatives.

Cici

Anonymous said...

I stumbled onto your website while looking for site that reviews books for the 13 year old age group. I was annoyed but not suprised when I read not only your article but the comments of your fellow "liberals." The hate that came from this site only deepens the divide between Americans. You see when it comes down to it we all want the same things for ourselves and our children. We want health and happiness for them and we want them to be kind and compassionate to others. I choose to take the Right turn in the road ("conservative" approach) and you choose to take the Left turn ("liberal" approach). Is one way better than another, not really. Is the motivation of either liberals or conservatives "evil" or "stupid." I don't think so. What you are doing at this website is promoting hate of different opinions and ideas. That, in my opinion goes against everything we as Americans and humans stand for. It is silly to bash each other over these things, just as it would be silly to become upset if someone had a different way to solve a math problem than you did.

I will raise my children my way and you will raise your children your way. Terrific. Guess what? We can only offer them what we think is our best and hope that they achieve their full potential.

PS. When you are offering your children these choices, are you offering them some from the conservative side as well?

Jeremy Adam Smith said...

"It is silly to bash each other over these things, just as it would be silly to become upset if someone had a different way to solve a math problem than you did."

When did conservatives become champions of moral relativism? There are indeed different ways to solve math problems, but the range of ways is constrained by certain underlying principles--which, if ignored, can result in the wrong answers. I stand by the quotes I used in this piece--they're all accurate--and I stand by my right to satirize stupidity. Conservatives may now think right and wrong is subjective and enjoy playing at being the helpless victims of "hate," but, as I see it, you are simply being criticized for your beliefs and actions. After causing decades of damage, from the culture wars to the Iraq war, don't expect anyone to cut you any slack. Those days are over.

Anonymous said...

Very nice article. I am a conservative libertarian. I believe in mild corporal punishment. Last night our son was being bad and I wanted to give him a light spanking with the belt. When I was a kid I got the switch. My wife informed me that it was considered child abuse to spank your child with anything other than your hand. I thought this government intrusion into our homes was atrocious. When I thought about it it all made sense. It is not republican vs democrat or conservative vs liberal; it is the government and new world order vs we the people and our families. Even light discipline of our children is a crime, yet children grow up and our society continues to get worse with more crime, drug use, etc. The NWO does this on purpose. If society gets so out of control there will be so much crime and anarchy families like us wiill beg the NWO for help at the exchange of even more of our freedoms; kind of like what the patriot act does.

Ben Allen said...

I think this is a joke, this is not what conservative perents are like at all, and when i think about it, how you vote has very little to how you raise a child, abortion is bad gays are bad osama, uh obama is bad, you get it, shut the fuck up liberals and say whatever you want because i wont stick around to look at any responses, so you dont have a choice to tell me what you think and im rubbing it in you faces and i would fight every single one of you and win because you are all weak gay pussys, speaking of which, boobs and vaginas are good and real men eat meat lift weights and play video games,go to hell liberals, i hope this makes your faggot ass cry, and remember you will never be able to respond to this and have me see it so i just have to hope i get one of you to hang yourselfs, and conservatives are taking over the world because we are the dominant speces that dont visously kill our young, only gays.

Jeremy Adam Smith said...

Ahem. Though the above comment is filled with crazed hate, and is not the kind of comment I normally approve on this blog, I allowed it through as an excellent example of the kind of mindset being discussed in the piece.

Ben Allen, is your voice representative of "what conservative perents [sic] are like"? If so, God help you all.

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Sage said...

Your writing is so reactionary & whiny, it has absolutely no persuasive power to anybody who isn't already singing in your choir.

You grossly mischaracterize those with whom you disagree. After you've established your straw man, you bitterly knock him down, hoping that your point has been proven ("beat the bastards!"...I don't know that anyone advocates quite that representation).

Obviously, the parenting that you advocate (if you're any indication)will lead to intellectually dishonest, touchy-feely, reality-denying sycophancy in which every desire of the child is worshipped by the parent. This is due to fear. The inherent liberal fear of self-regulation is transferred to the child. The leftist is at a loss of control over their natural tendencies. They fear their own nature. They wish to believe it is inherently blameless. They are in terror over the idea of discomfort (ie discipline) of any kind. So rather than accept the fact that work is required in developing character & ability (which is despised by the left above all else), every natural inclination is justified as perfect & right... Never requiring scutinization of any kind. So what becomes of these children is that they will grow up to hear radio shows and laughably rage at those whose lives retain the semblance of order that theirs lack. They will bitterly claim that our understanding of their lack of manhood is the fault of society and not their own weak short-comings.

This emotive, anarchistic, feelings-worhipping parenting-style is relatively new. So, at some point, you'll have to deal with the fact that humans have been able to make much of themselves without the self-serving nonsense espoused here, for many centuries. And history's greatest men have more often than not had disciplinary parents. You will not find it easy to explain their greatness in light of your disparagement of the parenting that created them.

Your parenting makes you feel good about yourself, but it creates people like you. And I'm sure that's the last thing any parent would want.

prove your intellectual honesty by allowing a comment whose first line doesn't include profanity. impress me.

Anonymous said...

Your writing is so reactionary & whiny, it has absolutely no persuasive power to anybody who isn't already singing in your choir.

You grossly mischaracterize those with whom you disagree. After you've established your straw man, you bitterly knock him down, hoping that your point has been proven ("beat the bastards!"...I don't know that anyone advocates quite that representation).

Obviously, the parenting that you advocate (if you're any indication)will lead to intellectually dishonest, touchy-feely, reality-denying sycophancy in which every desire of the child is worshipped by the parent. This is due to fear. The inherent liberal fear of self-regulation is transferred to the child. The leftist is at a loss of control over their natural tendencies. They fear their own nature. They wish to believe it is inherently blameless. They are in terror over the idea of discomfort (ie discipline) of any kind. So rather than accept the fact that work is required in developing character & ability (which is despised by the left above all else), every natural inclination is justified as perfect & right... Never requiring scutinization of any kind. So what becomes of these children is that they will grow up to hear radio shows and laughably rage at those whose lives retain the semblance of order that theirs lack. They will bitterly claim that our understanding of their lack of manhood is the fault of society and not their own weak short-comings.

This emotive, anarchistic, feelings-worhipping parenting-style is relatively new. So, at some point, you'll have to deal with the fact that humans have been able to make much of themselves without the self-serving nonsense espoused here, for many centuries. And history's greatest men have more often than not had disciplinary parents. You will not find it easy to explain their greatness in light of your disparagement of the parenting that created them.

Your parenting makes you feel good about yourself, but it creates people like you. And I'm sure that's the last thing any parent would want.