We all know that parenthood has been publicly trashed over the past half century. The larger culture portrays Fathers as dolts and full-time moms as second class women. These ideas, hammered endlessly and over decades, have had their effects.
The big drivers of this abuse have been socialism and Freudian beliefs. I’ll explain below, but let’s be clear on the fact that both socialism and Freud’s “it’s your parents’ fault” can and must be thrown aside. We don’t need to keep arguing the same points, simply because dogmatists in marble buildings refuse to see reality.
If you’re not convinced that these twin gods of the 20th century preached ideas that failed at horrifying costs, please be honestly convinced first. But at this point I think most adults understand the truth of this: Socialism was a failure of the highest order, and Freudian ideas have failed at both large and small scales.
And so we should be convinced of something else: People still espousing these ideas are not to be taken as serious thinkers. Be kind to them, help them if you can, but stop wasting your time on them.
A Century of “Not My Fault”
Marx and Freud became the true gods of the 20th century for the same reason: They gave people a way to evade responsibility. It was a century when methods of laying guilt upon others raced to popularity, especially if they were said to be “scientific.”
This situation came about because, over that same period of time, men and women lost their ability to comprehend the larger world. Briefly (see Parallel Society #14 for deeper coverage), the process went like this:
- The ways of the 19th century (a confident time) were being made impractical by new financial systems.
- The old mating strategy (good boy goes out and makes his nest egg, good girl marries him) became impossible. And so young people had either to ridicule it or judge themselves unfit for mating.
- Farm work was vanishing due to agricultural machinery. Millions of people were left feeling vulnerable in a new situation.
- Good jobs were found in factories, where workers became interchangeable parts and their agency was diminished.
- Mass media was thrust into the minds of millions.
These changes continued until “society” was seen as the true entity and the individual a mere atom in it.
A person’s choices were primarily affected by family, friends and neighbors in the 19th century. These links withered over the 20th, leaving most people unmoored and foundering in cross-currents.
Trashing The Family
Again briefly, here’s how socialism and Freudians affected the family:
At first (and I’m dealing mainly with the USSR and its sycophants here), the socialists promoted “free love” and open marriage, but then pulled back a bit, seemingly of necessity. This was done to uproot the traditional family, of course, because isolated, atomized individuals seldom opposed them, while strong families frequently did. (It was always about raw, naked power.) Socialist governments continually undercut families.
Freud’s model of laying the blame for almost anything on one’s parents never really healed the troubled people who trusted in it. Freudian therapy is justly noted for keeping people enmeshed with their childhood issues (real or imagined) for decades on end. It’s pretty well abandoned these days, although “blame Mom and Dad” is still hanging on.
It seems to be time, finally, to revisit parenthood. Blaming your parents (and parenthood itself) for whatever ails you has passed its expiration date.
We may not understand everything that’s going on, but it’s clear that the bad things in the world are not our fault. More than that, we know whose fault it is: a large, distant class of overlords and their partners.
And if it’s not our fault anymore, it’s not Mom and Dad’s fault either. Once that becomes clear, it’s easy to see that dads are (mostly) decent and noble men, laboring against the currents to do right for their children. And likewise that moms risk not only their bodies to create us, but work and suffer endlessly to make us happier and better people.
Moms and dads make mistakes, of course, because they’re human; all of us make mistakes. But no one – and certainly not some political operative – will come close to providing loving, benevolent and enduring service to children better than even an average parent.
Good men and good women are produced by good families, not by government services. In a face-off between the average bureaucratic “solution” and the average family, the family wins, hands down. We should become adamant on this point.
Here, to close, are a handful of quotations, mostly from the former days, when parenthood was valued:
I felt more keenly than before the need of a philosophy that would do justice to the infinite vitality of nature… in the laughter and play of children, in the love and devotion of youth, in the restless ambition of fathers and the lifelong sacrifice of mothers… in all things I saw the passion of life for growth and greatness, the drama of everlasting creation. (Will Durant, Transition)
Happy he with such a mother! Faith in womankind beats with his blood, and trust in all things high comes easy to him, and though he trip and fall, he shall not blind his soul with clay. (Alfred Tennyson, The Princess)
A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure. (Ian Morgan Cron)
And say to mothers what a holy charge is theirs—with what a kingly power their love might rule the fountains of the new-born mind. (Mrs. Sigourney, The Mother of Washington)
God couldn’t be everywhere, so he created mothers. (Jewish Proverb)
He that does a good deed blesses his neighbor. He that adopts a child blesses God. (Jewish Proverb)
4 thoughts on “Revisiting Parenthood, After A Century of Socialism And Freud”
Paul, of course its you.
I didn’t notice until i was about to leave a comment.
Dude, I’ve been reading your stuff for years now. Your observations have really helped me. And always right when I need it.
Thank you for this.
You are most welcome, Mike. 🙂
I disagree that blaming the parents is a bad thing. From my own experience, it’s a necessary part of the journey. The last thing that a person who was abused or neglected as a child needs is to be burdened with even more guilt. I believe that the anger needs to be released and expressed and that should be allowed and welcomed. Blaming the parents is supposed to be a necessary phase of the journey but not the end state or final destination, and I agree with you on that. At some point that needs to be transcended.
I am worried because lately I am seeing several leading thinkers promoting what I see as some sort of christian fundamentalism, as if all families were pure and enlightened. I understand that during these crazy times it can be tempting to resort to ready-made answers, but we should also stay open minded.
Please remember that if the people who were/are mistreated by their parents are not lent a helping hand by the good people in this world, then some “savior” will seize the opportunity. And we already know how the story goes.
Thank you for your writings and reflections.
First, I’m sorry that was part of your journey. You didn’t deserve that.
Still, I didn’t write about the minority of parents who really are blamable. I was addressing average parents and good parents. Blanketing them with automatic blame was abusive on a grand scale.
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