Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Authoritarian Parent's Lament

It's click-bait of the very best kind:
Conservative Parents, Left-Wing Children By Dennis "The Menace" Prager  
Schools see it as their job to make kids reject their parents’ conservative values.  
There is a phenomenon that is rarely commented on, although it’s as common as it is significant. For at least two generations, countless conservative parents have seen their adult children reject their core values.
I wonder why on earth nobody ever talks about liberal academia brainwashing conservatives.
I have met these parents throughout America. I have spoken with them in person and on my radio show. Many have confided to me — usually with a resigned sadness — that one or more of their children has adopted left-wing social, moral, and political beliefs.

Wait a second. Let's say I'm a conservative woman. I was told to have a lot of children so the Muslims wouldn't out-populate "us." Now you're telling me it could have been for nothing and the first time the kids are let out of the compound they'll reject me Jesus??
A particularly dramatic recent example was a pastor who told me that he has three sons, all of whom have earned doctorates — from Stanford, Oxford, and Fordham. What parent wouldn’t be proud of such achievements by his or her children?
An authoritarian parent whose only wish is to force his child to reinforce all of his own choices by making the same choices.
But the tone of his voice suggested more irony than pride. They are all leftists, he added wistfully.  
“How do you get along?” I asked.  
“We still talk,” he responded.
The sons must be as wise as they are intelligent to maintain a relationship with a man who probably is more concerned with their souls than with their actual lives.
Needless to say, I was glad to hear that. But as the father of two sons, I readily admit that if they became leftists, while I would, of course, always love them, I would be deeply saddened. Parents, on the left or the right, religious or secular, want to pass on their core values to their children.
Imagine if they were gay. But that's a choice, right? And therefore it is not the parents' fault if their child is gay; they did not pass it down through their blood, even if their gay child has a couple of gay relatives. And although the child chose to be gay, the parents did not do anything to turn the child gay because everyone knows parents have no effect on their children's minds.

Oddly enough, only liberals have an effect on children's minds. Liberal media, peers, teachers, professors, courts, churches. They all turn people liberal through their devious, deviant ways. But conservative values are weak.  Impotent. They melt away like the summer rain when the harsh light of the liberal sun comes out to play.

In the end liberals are just like conservatives, they want to brainwash their children into accepting their parents' beliefs as well. Conservative is the default mode, a liberal is just a person who is too egotistical to do what he is told.

Prager explains that it's the job of a parent to pass on his values. It is not his job to teach his child how to think for himself or make his own independent choices.
So it is sad when a parent who believes, for example, in the American trinity of “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and “E Pluribus Unum” has a child who believes that equality trumps liberty, that a secular America is preferable to a God-centered one, and that multiculturalism should replace the unifying American identity.
God forbid that our children believe, "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me."
It is sad when a pastor or any other parent who believes that the only gender-based definition of marriage that has ever existed — husband and wife — has a child who regards the parent as a bigot for holding on to that definition.
It's a lot sadder when parents teach their children to be bigots.
It is sad when a parent who believes that America has always been, in Lincoln’s famous words, “the last best hope of earth” has a child who believes that America has always been little more than an imperialist, racist, and xenophobic nation.
There's nothing sadder than seeing your child learn something outside of Jesus' Guide To The History Of The World.
That this happens so often raises the obvious question: Why?
When a kid finds out you lied to them your entire life about everything in the entire world, shit happens.
There are two reasons. One is that most parents with traditional American and Judeo-Christian values have not thought it necessary to articulate these values to their children on a regular basis. They have assumed that there is no need to because society at large holds those values, or it did so throughout much of American history. Villages do indeed raise children. And when the village shares parents’ values, the parents don’t have to do the difficult work of inculcating these values. But the village — American society — has radically changed.
Didn't the Village radically change two generations ago? Are conservatives just now noticing this? Of course not.
Which brings us to the second reason. Virtually every institution outside the home has been captured by people with left-wing values: specifically the media (television and movies) and the schools (first the universities and now high schools). In the 1960s and 1970s, American parents were blindsided. Their children came home from college with values that thoroughly opposed those of their parents.
The parents wanted their sons to fight as they had fought. The kids saw Vietnam on tv and refused. The parents wanted their daughter to get married and have children. The daughters wanted to use the brains they had been training and refused. The pastors were growing rich and powerful with their huge tv audiences and generous politicians and wanted the young people to join and vote for the right. The young people refused.
And the parents had no idea how to counteract this. Moreover, even if they did, after just one year at the left-wing seminaries we still call universities, it was often too late. As one of the founders of progressivism in America, Woodrow Wilson, who was president of Princeton University before he became president of the United States, said in a speech in 1914, “I have often said that the use of a university is to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible.” Eighty-eight years later, the president of Dartmouth College, James O. Freedman, echoed Wilson: “The purpose of a college education is to question your father’s values,” he told the graduating seniors of Dartmouth College.
It is worth seeing that quote in context, since of course Prager tries to twist it to his own end.
I am interested in Young Men's Christian Association for various reasons. First of all, because it is an association of young men. I have had a good deal to do with young men in my time, and I have formed an impression of them which I believe to be contrary to the general impression. They are generally thought to be arch radicals. As a matter of fact, they are the most conservative people I have ever dealt with. Go to a college community and try to change the least custom of that little world and find how the conservatives will rush at you. Moreover, young men are embarrassed by having inherited their father’s opinions. I have often said that the use of a university is to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible. I do not say that with the least disrespect for the fathers; but every man who is old enough to have a son in college is old enough to have become very seriously immersed in some particular business and is almost certain to have caught the point of view of that particular business. And it is very useful to his son to be taken out of that narrow circle, conducted to some high place where he may see the general map of the world and of the interests of mankind, and there shown how big the world is and how much of it his father may happen to have forgotten. It would be worth while for men, middle-aged and old, to detach them selves more frequently from the things that command their daily attention and to think of the sweeping tides of humanity.  
Therefore I am interested in this association, because it is intended to bring young men together before any crust has formed over them, before they have been hardened to any particular occupation, before they have caught an inveterate point of view; while they still have a searchlight that they can swing and see what it reveals of all the circumstances of the hidden world. 
I am the more interested in it because it is an association of young men who are Christians. I wonder if we attach sufficient importance to Christianity as a mere instrumentality in the life of mankind. For one, I am not fond of thinking of Christianity as the means of saving individual souls. I have always been very impatient of processes and institutions which said that their purpose was to put every man in the way of developing his character. My advice is: Do not think about your character. If you will think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself. Character is a by-product, and any man who devotes himself to its cultivation in his own case will become a selfish prig. The only way your powers can become great is by exerting them outside the circle of your own narrow, special, selfish interests. And that is the reason of Christianity. Christ came into the world to save others, not to save himself; and no man is a true Christian who does not think constantly of how he can lift his brother, how he can assist his friend, how he can enlighten mankind, how he can make virtue the rule of conduct in the circle in which he lives. An association merely of young men might be an association that had its energies put forth in every direction, but an association of Christian young men is an association meant to put its shoulders under the world and lift it, so that other men may feel that they have companions in bearing the weight and heat of the day; that other men may know that there are those who care for them, who would go into places of difficulty and danger to rescue them, who regard them selves as their brother’s keeper.
Prager is as honest as he is bright.
Even now, too few conservative parents realize how radical — and effective — the university agenda is. They are proud that their child has been accepted to whatever college he or she attends, not realizing that, values-wise, they are actually playing Russian roulette, except that only one chamber in the gun is not loaded with a bullet. And then the child comes home, often after only a year at college, a different person, values-wise, from the one whom the naïve parent so proudly sent off just a year earlier.
Educated instead of ignorant. Questioning instead of blindly believing. Accepting instead of vilifying. The horror!
What to do? I will answer that in a future column. But the first thing to do is to realize what is happening. There are too many sad conservative parents.
There are too many authoritarian parents.


Downpuppy said...

After 50 years of this, how old are these surprised parents? If you graduated HS before 1965, you'er probably finishing up having grandchildren and starting a 3rd generation of liberal descendants.

Or did Prager dust off a 40 year old diatribe & not update it, leaving it as odd as trying to fit Magneto into 21st century XMen comics.

Susan of Texas said...

Prager and his predecessors have probably been running this scam for 100,000 years.

Neanderthal: If it weren't for the Cro Magnons our kids wouldn't reject our traditional ideas in favor of liberal ideas like tools and clothing.

Unsalted Sinner said...

If education leads people to reject your views, it doesn't really speak well for your views.

fish said...

Eighty-eight years later, the president of Dartmouth College, James O. Freedman, echoed Wilson: “The purpose of a college education is to question your father’s values,” he told the graduating seniors of Dartmouth College.

LOL, Dartmouth is his example of liberal brainwashing?!?!?!?!

Susan of Texas said...

There is no wrong or right, there is only grist for the mill.