Men, Women, Marriage, and Not Growing Up 4

Socialism doesn't work, in families or in government.

This series has explored many reasons why a modern man would rather not grow up in the sense of taking care of a woman and helping her raise their children, and how this societal immaturity is reflected in modern Western politics.  A major political force today is the conflict between the adults, who want to keep as much as possible of their earnings, and voters who insist on acting like children and who want the government to spend more and more of other people's money supporting them.

To understand how to fix a problem, it helps to consider how things got fouled up in the first place.  As we bring this series to a close, let's explore the political forces that brought us to this point of familial dissolution and dissipated lives.

Society and Money

A great many so-called "fiscal conservatives" think that social conservatism is at best a waste of time and at worst an unnecessarily divisive list of old-fashioned Thou Shalt Nots which have no place in modern governance.  They are mistaken - fiscal conservatism and social conservatism are indivisibly linked.

Without the old-fashioned values of our social conservatives - longstanding rules about marriage, family responsibility, duty to parents, and all the rest of the old-fashioned virtues - there can be no fiscal conservatism because the government will persuade itself that it should step in and fill the void left by the abandoned virtues.  When parents don't care for their children, social workers happily put them in foster care at government expense.

The American government has tried and failed miserably to fill in for parents ever since LBJ's Great Society, but that wasn't the first attempt by government to replace parents.

Back in ancient Greek times, the Spartan government didn't think parents could be trusted to raise children militantly enough.  Children were moved into dorms when relatively young and raised to government standards, creating the finest warriors the world has ever known.

Some of their legendary military feats are remembered to this day, yet the Spartan civilization is long gone, first defeated by "effeminate" Athens and then by various other invaders from progressively further away.  As successful as it seemed to be on the field of battle, the Spartan culture's method of child-rearing has been demonstrated by the impartial forces of natural selection not to work.

More recently, Nazi courts removed children from the homes of parents who didn't raise them as the state expected:

Nov. 29, 1937 In Waldenberg, Germany, a court has taken parents away from their children because they refused to teach them Nazi ideology. The parents are pacifists, members of a Christian sect called International Bible Researchers. The court accused them of creating an environment where the children would grow up "enemies of the state." The children were delivered into the state's care.

The judge delivered a lengthy statement reading in part, "The law as a racial and national instrument entrusts German parents with the education of their children only under certain conditions, namely, that they educate them in the fashion that the nation and state expect." [emphasis added]

Quoted from "Chronicles of the 20th Century," 1987 edition, p 475 Chronicle Publications, Mt. Kisco, NY.

Hitler was quite insistent that every last German child, including the current Pope, must be indoctrinated by participating in his Hitler Youth regardless of how their own families might have felt about it.  As with the Spartans, this thoroughgoing totalitarianism failed: the Nazi system didn't last even as long as Sparta.

In America, we don't have anything like the same adamantine demands for the government to raise every last child in the nation, but vast percentages of our children are in effect wards of the state.  The Left likes to look on this as a success, but in what alternative world are they living?  What, exactly, was or is great about the Great Society?

In what way are we a better or stronger nation now that half our mothers would rather have government take care of their offspring than have their fathers care for them?  How is it good to have packs of single young men scampering from bar to bar looking no further than the next sexual conquest because any consequences will be the problem of the taxpayer?  There will be no angry father appearing at the door with a shotgun.  There may, perhaps, be an IRS agent or a process server with his hand out, but that pitfall can be easily avoided by the simple expedient of not earning enough to interest the government in coming after you for child support.

Immaturity Begets Immaturity

I've wondered for many years how liberals can live with themselves.  There were problems with our former patriarchal system, but instead of reforming their men, the women decided to go to war with their men.  Liberal politicians happily signed on, trashing men in return for women's votes.  The awful consequences of their politics of not forcing people to grow up are now visible in broken homes, delinquency, crime rates, school dropouts, domestic violence, and a host of social pathologies.

Are liberals deluded?  Do they think they're doing good?  Do they know they're doing harm but are so evil that all that matters to the is getting power by spending other people's money or by passing regulations that take away other people's freedom?

Finally, a light dawned.  We know that the Senate and the Congress are populated by millionaires.  Despite all the lies about getting money from ordinary people, politics has become so expensive that the only people who can afford to run for national office are wealthy people who either fund their own campaigns or have connections to wealthy people who can help them.

For the most part, entrepreneurs who earn the original fortune are too busy to go into politics, so our current politicians are mostly second or third generation wealthy or those who have "earned" their fortune via some postmodern nonproductive career such as that of trial lawyer John Edwards.

Wealthy people have too little time and too much money.  They have always had a great deal of trouble getting their children to grow up, going back to the ancient kings who were lucky to get a halfway sane and competent ruler every three or four generations.  Modern plutocrats do no better: children of second or third generation wealth are famous for getting into trouble in various ways.

Consider Al Gore, whose father was a wealthy, powerful, respected, and generally honest legislator.  Our current Al Gore had no qualms with publishing a documentary riddled with lies.  He had no trouble traveling the globe giving high-priced lectures which contained the same lies.  He stopped lying, not because he grew up enough to realize that what he was doing was wrong, but because reporters started challenging his lies.

John Kerry was not the first scion of wealth to lie about his military career.  Anybody who's tried to raise a child knows that lying comes naturally to all children.  The only way to get them to tell the truth is to force them to mature enough to realize that lies end up costing more than they'd like to pay.

Consider Mr. Ayers, Mr. Obama's friend the terrorist.  His father was a wealthy Commonwealth Edison executive so Mr. Ayers never had to earn any money on his own.  Most of the 9-11 terrorists as well as the Nigerian panty bomber were at least upper middle class.  Osama Bin Laden's father is a multi-billionaire.

Then there's the late Teddy Kennedy.  His father Joe the rum-runner once said that he had given each of his sons a million dollars on their 21st birthday "so they can tell me to go to hell if they want to."  Joe seems not to have noticed that having a million 1960 dollars also meant that his sons could tell everyone else, and indeed polite society itself, to do the same.  Having that much money at their disposal also meant that none of them ever had to grow up one bit more than they wanted.

John F. Kennedy seems to have decided at least to grow up sufficiently to put on the expected public display of maturity; his private life, conspiratorially concealed by the media of the day, tells a quite different story.

Younger Teddy didn't even attempt to grow up until he qualified for an AARP card.  He was caught cheating at Harvard and avoided expulsion only by the intervention of his family; his antics with Washington waitresses are the stuff of legend.   There is also the infamous death of Mary Jo Kopechne who slowly asphyxiated in the back seat of his submerged car sunk in a Chappaquiddick creek while he consulted with his lawyers.

Regardless of his escapades, whether abuse of women, rape, or even murder, the lawyers and financiers of the "Kennedy machine" always kept him out of jail.

Teddy never earned an honest dime in his life because he didn't have to.  Throughout his Senatorial career, he kept bleating about "fairness" and shoveling taxpayer money at people who didn't want to grow up.

When I Became A Man, I Gave Up Childish Things

What's behind liberal thought?  Most liberals never had to grow up themselves and are incapable of properly valuing adult responsibility.  Since they view themselves as the epitome of greatness and goodness, they don't think it's fair or reasonable for other people to have to grow up and become more mature than they are.

Kennedy didn't have to work, so he thought it was "fair" to set up programs so that other people could enjoy the same benefits of irresponsibility as he did.  Kennedy didn't have to worry about paying his rent so he helped set up programs so that other people wouldn't have to pay their rent either.  Is this the pathway to a just society?  No - it's the highway to an infantilized, Soviet-style command economy that offers nothing more than equality of poverty.

Last, there's Mr. Obama.  His father exhibited no responsibility for him or to him at all.  He credits his grandmother with pointing him in the correct direction, but we know how hard it is for a woman to raise a man to maturity.  His male role models were questionable at best.

Is it any surprise that he can't handle men like Mr. Chavez who've fought their way to leadership of a country; or Mr. Putin, an archetypal tough guy who killed and schemed himself to the top of a gangster-based society?  How can Mr. Obama cope with such men?  Is it any surprise that he let Nancy Pelosi write the health car bill?  He's used to deferring to women.  He can't lead women, he can't lead men.  Has he grown up?

It's not limited to politicians.  Hugh Hefner wrote many, many monthly columns about the Playboy Philosophy he epitomized, which boiled down to the idea that men should rack up as many women as possible without taking care care of any of them in any permanent way.  Given that the sign over his doorbell read (albeit in Latin) "If you won't kiss, don't ring," the women who entered his domain knew the score.

His writings helped convince men that it was OK for a man not to grow up.  Even in his dotage, Mr. Hefner still manages to attract limo-loads of beauties that would put to shame golf stars a third his age.  Is it any surprise that he is a Democrat?  Immature liberal politicians institutionalize immaturity in themselves and in their supporters.

Hugh Hefner: Not an example of a conservative!

The problem with government spending more and more money taking care of voters who prefer not to grow up is that, as Margaret Thatcher said, eventually you run out of other people's money.

What Liberals Have Wrought

Liberal policies supporting eternal childhood have destroyed our public institutions.  Our schools used to focus on education - the children of earlier immigrants were forced to learn English as fast as possible and went on to become outstanding citizens.  Now, it doesn't matter if immigrants end up stuck in English as a Second Language courses where they learn nothing until they're old enough to be shoved out of school.

Our cities used to have workable infrastructure.  The privately-maintained parts of New York City still function well, but the unionized city employees can no longer maintain what their ancestors built.  Voters and government employees have demanded that politicians subsidize their childishness, and the politicians are only too happy to oblige.

We see the FDA attempt to ban cough syrup for children because a few parents are too stupid to read the labels and might hurt their children.  All the rest of us have to suffer because a few people aren't smart enough to realize you don't let your kid chug the whole Robitussin bottle at one go?

The federal government requires that all new cars have air bags.  Adults who are smart enough to fasten seat belts have to pay $3,000 more for cars because some people are too stupid to fasten their belts?

Must we all suffer because of those who refuse to grow up?  According to liberals, the answer is an emphatic "Yes!"

Health care is perhaps the worst example of government forcing irresponsible, childish behavior on all of us.  During World War II, the government in its infinite wisdom froze wages because there was a labor shortage with so many men in the military.  To get around the wage freeze, companies offered health insurance as an inducement to get the workers they needed.

As a result of this misguided wage freeze, pretty much all Americans have come to expect that someone else will pay for their health care.  When someone else pays the bills, we aren't nearly as careful what we spend.

What's more, liberals are convinced that if some workers don't have to worry about paying their own health care costs, nobody should have to worry - just as Ted Kennedy didn't want anyone worrying about paying to heat their homes because he didn't have to worry about heating his homes.  As costs for supplying heating oil to poor people keep going up, so do medical costs because everybody pushes their costs off on someone else.

Eventually, there will be no "somebody else" left to pay the bills.  What then?

This Is No Surprise

Historian Alexander Tyler said:

A democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.

Our founders were well aware of this danger and did their best to prevent it.  They explicitly set up a republic not a democracy so that individual states could run things in different ways.  That way, people could move to a state that operated in a way they liked.  The founders didn't want the federal government forcing all states to operate in the same way.

The Constitution had members of the Senate be appointed by their state legislatures so that the Senate would represent the interests of the various states; the House of Representatives, as its name implies, represented the interests of the people.  Unfortunately, we changed the system by amending the Constitution in 1913.

Now that senators are elected by popular vote, they're no longer interested in taking care of the state governments as our founders intended.  Why are we surprised that the federal government gets bigger and bigger?

At the time our Constitution was ratified, John Adams stated, "Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for any other."

For all of American history even to this day, the most familiar set of moral and religious principles was what's taught in the Bible.  Mr. Adams didn't say that the Christian religion per se is required for democracy to flourish, it's the personal maturity and restraint from vice that classical Christianity demands which makes the Constitution work.  A complete discussion of Max Weber's opus The Protest Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism would be too long for this article, but a few tid-bits of Christian writing will give you the general idea:

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.

- I Thessalonians 4:11

Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

- II Thessalonians 3:12

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

- II Thessalonians 3:10

The Bible clearly taught that Christians must be mature enough to support themselves.  In addition, men are required to support their families:

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

- I Timothy 5:8

Christian morality, which used to be the basis of acceptable behavior among Americans, required that men support their families.  Men who failed in this duty were subject to considerable popular criticism.

When the Pilgrims landed, their number included some "gentlemen" who expected the others to provide for them as the peasants had supported the gentry in Merrie Olde Englande.  At first, the Pilgrims agreed to share their food in common, but the colony quickly ran out of food because everybody found something better to do than grow food for other people.  Once they gave up socialism for capitalism, individual initiative promptly solved the problem because each person was permitted to keep what they grew.

Similarly, Capt. John Smith of Pocahontas fame found that he had to enforce a policy of requiring people to labor in exchange for food in Jamestown.  In other words, everybody had to grow up and take responsibility for themselves.

Freedom to Remain Children at Taxpayer Expense

Times have changed.  Instead of expecting families to care for children, our politicians say "It takes a village" and try to get votes by seeing who can shovel the most money at their supporters.

That path leads to social collapse because people aren't forced to grow up.  Children can't run a modern society any more than the Lost Boys were equipped to keep the City of London operating.  We've let our voters grow up to be children instead of citizens and the cost of all that whole-life child-care is bankrupting our nation.

The Tea Party protestors are demanding that government be less involved in their lives and in their wallets.  They want government to treat them as adults who can take care of themselves, butt out of pushing them around, and let them keep their earnings.

The question for our particular moment in history is, will Americans insist that our multiple generations of "adult" children be forced to grow into citizens or will they allow them to stay children?  Are we a nation of citizens or a nation of children?

As Reagan's great speech once put it, we have arrived at "A Time for Choosing" - for the two systems cannot permanently coexist in the same economy.

Lee Tydings is a guest writer for  Read other articles by Lee Tydings or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments
It is a pity the author could not focus on the issue at hand, but give us a diatribe against Liberals, using Christian theocracy and not much rational, perceptive analysis.
I realise this is a podium for disgruntled anti-intellectual Conservatism- still a semblance of sanity for an otherwise fascinating topic might be germane, but no Dr Dobson is this author.
March 3, 2010 11:19 PM
modern man is very busy and he have no time for his wife and his children thats way modern man would rather not grow up in the sense of taking care of a woman and helping her raise their children.
March 4, 2010 6:50 AM
wow, that's the world full of mystery and contrhopesy
March 6, 2010 5:41 AM
wow,this article is very nice i have never read this type of article.thank you very much for posting this article.
March 14, 2010 8:17 AM
March 15, 2010 6:35 PM
Married couple should read this. This article is really very helpful to strengthen family ties.
March 21, 2010 9:15 AM
The NY Times presents a very interesting perspective on growing up.

The Toys Are Us
"Toy Story 3" is a Pixar parable for graying adults, not kids.

NEARLY 2,000 years after St. Paul of Tarsus wrote his poetic epistles to the people of Corinth, we still equate our capacity for selfless love with the putting away of childish things. That is to say, the time comes for each of us to grow up and pack up our toys.

The ennobling, terrifying drama of outgrowing toys has played out many times in stories and songs - most recently in this weekend's Pixar release, "Toy Story 3" - and these well-loved tales tell us at least as much about the times in which they were created as they do about the time of life when children abandon their dolls and action figures.

Consider Margery Williams's 1922 story "The Velveteen Rabbit." With its portrayal of the old-fashioned plush bunny endangered by arrogant mechanical playthings, the book functioned in part as a critique of the dehumanization of the machine age. I still remember being read the story by my mother and father, who grew up in the late '20s and '30s and held it so dear for so long that they bought a copy for my first son when he was a child, 20-some years ago.

When the stuffed bunny's owner falls ill and the toy is consigned to be destroyed in a bonfire to prevent the spread of germs, the story moves from timely social commentary to more timeless mysticism. My Catholic mother saw saintly virtue in the rabbit's near martyrdom and, through the miracle of crying a real tear, quasi-messianic resurrection. That reading suggests a comparison with the Book of Job, as if the sick boy's abandonment of the bunny for a fancier toy was something akin to divine inscrutability.
June 20, 2010 1:16 PM
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