Friday, February 24, 2006

Are Stay at Home Moms "Letting Down the Team?"

According to Linda Hirshman, they are--and she said it over two straight days on ABC-TV's Good Morning, America. Albert Mohler offers a scathing summary and review of her so-called thoughts--and ends with a suggestion on how to counteract them. Herewith my "combination of refutation, amazement, and affirmation of motherhood" that Mr. Mohler suggests that we all respond with:

Let's start with some simple logic, which is a thing that Gilbert and Sullivan once recognized that women are afraid of:

Logic: why, tyrant man himself admits
it's a waste of time to argue with a woman!

Princess Ida

Specifically, let's start with her premises:
  • "I am saying an educated, competent adult's place is in the office."
  • "A good life for humans includes the classical standard of using one's capacities for speech and reason in a prudent way, the liberal requirement of having enough autonomy to direct one's own life, and the utilitarian test of doing more good than harm in the world. Measured against these time-tested standards, the expensively educated upper-class moms will be leading lesser lives."
That's what she says. And to make that work, she seems to propose, according to Mohler, that women limit themselves to one baby.

All right. Now let us see what sort of society would emerge if people followed her advice.

At a minimum, no child would grow up at "home" as we know it. Every woman who became pregnant would deliver her baby in a government-run creche, and would be in the hands of professionals from day one. Despite her egalitarian rhetoric, she couldn't possibly eliminate the janitors--and in this case the janitorial duties would include cleaning up baby's messes. Toilet training would, of course, come at the scientifically prescribed time, at the hands of trained nurses. From then on, the children would stay in school--a twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week boarding school.

And upon graduation, nothing else would change--because all of society would exist as one vast college-like campus, complete with dormitories. Home would not exist. Marriage would not exist. The elite would determine the proper uses of one's time. Now I complain just as vociferously as the next person about the sorry state of popular entertainment. But now--just imagine a world where the only entertainment is legalized, and government-directed, prostitution. Think Fahrenheit 451 in which the firemen burn the movies as well as the books.

And why not? What does she expect to happen if everyone works outside the home? Or does she really intend to hand the dirty jobs to the men? Frankly, she never makes that clear.

But I'm not through yet. If we take her at her word that children are a messy drag on a woman's life, then I'd give her brave new world four or five generations before it would collapse for lack of people to keep it together. Because she gives not the slightest thought for the production of the next generation. Even Julie Christie's TV-addicted neighbors in Fahrenheit 451 the movie (directed by Francois Truffaut) realized that the species might die out under their government's policies--not that they seemed to care.

Now let's deal with the phenomena that scare her so out of her wits: highly educated women staying at home with their children.

I would be the first to say, "Waste not; want not." So imagine this: these highly educated women participate directly in the education of their children, giving to them a direct benefit of all that education they got. That benefits the children best of all--for who is likely to care more for any child than his or her mother? In short--imagine a new cadre of home-schooling mothers, and fathers putting in their two cents, too. (This "take your kid to work" thing could work quite well in some professions, if you make a field trip out of it.) The experience of the last twenty years, during which home schooling has been lawful in just about every State in the Union, clearly shows that home schooling, done right, is vastly superior to education by the factory-like school.

Now that is what I call a child-rearing and educational system worthy of a republic--which, after all, is a system of levels of government, beginning with the individual householder and continuing with the town, the city, the county, the State, and highest of all, the federation, with each level accepting a proper sphere of responsibility and having full authority to carry out that responsibility.

That's not what Linda Hirshman wants. Again, she never made clear what she wants, but her ideals, such as they are, are more appropriate to a secularistic totalitarian state, not a republic.

Of course, the Seven-headed, Ten-horned Beast of Revelation might make this whole discussion moot. Or the Beast might make Linda Hirshman his Minister of Residential Life. Not necessarily because her ideals mesh with his, but simply because her methods can only help a megalomaniac such as he will surely be.

Until then, the best defense against her disgusting vision is to have as many children as we all can, while those who want to follow her advice limit their childbearing. Then, a generation later (if we can't quite manage it today), we'll just out-vote them.

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