Let’s begin with a distinction. In common Internet context, a written rant—a proper one—is something that minimally rests upon some rational foundation of commonly understood and generally accepted ideas or principles, those ideas and/or principles being disregarded or ignored, and the reasons for ridiculing a wanton disregard or ignorance of common sense or common propriety are delivered passionately, with purposeful offense, and with the intention of being utterly devastating to the targets—such that as many people laugh at and ridicule them as possible.
This is differentiated from temper tantrums which, as it just turns out, are basically what this post is about. Thus, the need of drawing a distinction up front.
Let’s continue with infants and children, the topic we’ll remain on for the duration of the post; but make meaningful distinctions there, as well. Such as this: we’re going to juxtapose normal children and their childish behavior with retarded children; and by retarded, I mean it literally. I don’t mean it as once used commonly to describe those lacking in mental capacity, by no fault of their own, or that of their parents. No, as you’ll see, this is true retardation and by the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll be able to refer to all those Yales, et al, as retards, with full moral and intellectual authority.
One can’t over-baby a baby. As mammals, we must nurture our young for various periods of time, and for human mammals, it’s an exceptionally long time. But, there are distinct stages. One of my favorite current images seen often these days is some young, gang-banger looking guy, tats & all, in the supermarket line with a basket full of Pampers and a little baby snuggled up to his chest as he’s holding it. Always gives me a smile and a ray of hope for the human race. While we’re certainly not exclusively “instinctual” beings, there appears to be innate heart-tuggings on some levels.
You can’t over-baby a baby. Who says you can’t just hold them close and provide every comfort you can think of for as long as is reasonable? They have very modest means of communicating with you and their discomforts, insecurities, and fears are difficult to ascertain precisely—apart from poopoopants and hungry tummy. (As an aside, I think some of them are just fucking hot, because people bundle them up so ridiculously.). Thing is, who faults infants for any of this? Nobody. It’s wrong-headed to imagine their crying or screaming over whatever as being anything like some kind of scheme on their part.
They’re in pain or discomfort; they’re hungry, hot, cold, afraid, insecure, lonely, and whatever else. They aren’t thinking and calculating. They’re certainly not offended. It’s just that as their brains grow, more neural connections to sensory organs get made, and integrated, and it can overwhelm them. Or, they’re just hungry, or have poopoopants.
But then, there comes a time…it could be 3, 4, 5—maybe even 6—where they begin to learn how to own you. Dogs do it too (ask my wife). This is where it’s not just proto-humanity, anymore, but some mix, with levels of primitive calculation and manipulation. And this is where a human mammal parent goes from nurturing parent in the strict and exclusive sense, to one that teaches, explains lessons, and enforces levels of appropriate behavior, per individual.
So, while an infant cringing and crying over a thunderstorm, fireworks, clown—or a face-making uncle—is to be held close, comforted and assured absolutely, without equivocation, there comes a time when they can understand a simple explanation, be assured that it’s OK, and then when over, get reinforcement that “see, it’s OK.” Sure, it should and does take a while, perhaps dozens of times and quite an impatient while.
But it must come. It has to come. For the very survival of the human species, infants must be brought into childhood so that they can then prepare for the next stage of human evolution in social context. It’s that next stage where American society is increasingly running into problems over something that’s been done by near reflex for hundreds of thousands of years naturally: making fine adults out of them. Chickens have been roosting for a good while here at home. It was nearly 25 years ago when I heard about the first whiffs of political correctness or PC. And it was recently pointed out to me that the satiric film, now documentary, PCU, is 20 years old.
You’ve all seen “parents” do this. They baby their “children,” rather than moving them along from childhood, to adolescence (then adulthood), where effort is taken to differentiate and explain various feelings of fear and insecurity into categories they can deal with. Thunder, snake, fast moving objects, hot stoves, calm water, rapid water…deep and shallow water, high places, low places…like a stairwell, spiders … spinach … and the list goes on. The million-things job at hand is to make valid distinctions that roughly correspond to their increasingly integrated and rational-ability-awareness of experience, then bring the lesson home. Then those lessons become the basis of other lessons, whereby hierarchies of rational awareness and disposition are built. This is the road to adolescence; or, if you like, proto-adult.
And then they begin to have actual ideas; like, they can talk, form sentences, ask questions and make you know they just learned something. This is where the task gets the most interesting for the mostest and bestest parents. The best parents encourage vast curiosity, then act as facilitator in its satisfaction.
This—my foregoing rough explanation—is how it’s supposed to work. But it doesn’t, too often—and not just in crack houses, but in lots of average houses, and in major institutions of so-called higher learning. Often enough, the babying gets perpetuated to extremely extreme extremes. You’ve seen it. Everything is validated, nothing is differentiated. If they feel it, it’s valid. If it hurts, even if an idea, or words, it’s an assault and they’re a victim of it.
In the normal world, when patient explanations don’t seem to be having desired effects, ridicule is what generally gets the task done. The problem here is that mush-for-brain parents were often enough not taught such distinctions themselves, or they’re resentful because they got bashed around, and they overcompensate. Whatever the catalyst, when a 5-6-yr-old is crying because [insert irrational “reason”], then sometimes it becomes time to just laugh at him or her, have everyone laugh at him or her, point their fingers, and let him or her know that his or her behavior has become petulant and will not be entertained a moment longer.
To bed with you. No dinner.
But, since so many parents aren’t themselves aware of important distinctions, they consider all ridicule to be equal. And this harms children, because there’s almost nothing more powerful than social ridicule to get a person (at all levels from children on up) to stop and think a bit. It’s a mild form of social ostracism. Nothing is more powerful to engender rational social behavior for social animals than to be threatened with limited or no social contact.
So yes, it’s appropriate to sometimes laugh at, make fun of, and ridicule your young child for taking shit too far.
This is what has probably never happened to the Children of Yale.
Well, one explanation is that these places are not where all the millions of rich lefties send their children. Anyone done a survey, yet, to determine the political demographics of The Ivy League? Who’s willing to place a bet that the retarded children in attendance aren’t very predominately the progeny of rich lefties?
That retarded child, the one on video berating some faculty guy because his wife sent an email telling all the developmentally retarded children to lighten up over being offended over Halloween costumes? She’s a victim alright; of her parents, and not one thing else.
She’s about 15 years behind in normal development; or, to cast appropriate blame, her parents have been delict in duty for the last 15 years. She didn’t even get the Sticks & Stones lesson. Every opportunity to make valid childhood distinctions—the ultimate goal being to demonstrate that she had great capacity and potential—was instead squandered, such that she could always feel like a victim of every imaginable thing that made her feel in some way afraid, unsafe, or insecure at any of any random time. It’s a shame, especially for her.
Glenn Reynolds did an obviously tongue-in-cheek piece today: After Yale, Mizzou, raise the voting age — to 25.
In 1971, the United States ratified the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.
The idea, in those Vietnam War years, was that 18-year-olds, being old enough to be drafted, to marry and to serve on juries, deserved a vote. It seemed plausible at the time, and I myself have argued that we should set the drinking age at 18 for the same reasons.
But now I’m starting to reconsider. To be a voter, one must be able to participate in adult political discussions. It’s necessary to be able to listen to opposing arguments and even — as I’m doing right here in this column — to change your mind in response to new evidence.
All fine and good, but they haven’t even learned Sticks & Stones, yet, a 5-yr-old lesson, by my recollection. What are you arguing for, Glenn, to keep them retarded for another 5 years?
I preferred Bendan O’Neill’s take, because it puts blame squarely where it belongs. These retarded children are victims alright, but they are victims of their rich leftie Democrat parents. The ‘Yale snowflakes’: who made these monsters?
Okay, fine. It is indeed interesting, and worrying, that students are so sensitive and censorious today. But I have a question for the hand-wringers, the media people, academics and liberal thinkers who are so disturbed by what they’re calling the ‘Yale snowflakes’: what did you think would happen? When you watched, or even presided over, the creation over the past 40 years of a vast system of laws and speech codes to punish insulting or damaging words, and the construction of a vast machine of therapeutic intervention into everyday life, what did you think the end result would be? A generation that was liberal and tough? Come off it. It’s those trends, those longstanding trends of censorship and therapy, that created today’s creepy campus intolerance; it’s you who made these monsters.
Over the past year, there has been growing concern in the media with the campus crazies who demand trigger warnings on books (lest their content induce PTSD), who cultivate Safe Spaces in which no bruising word may be uttered, and who try to crush everything from Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ (it makes female students feel unsafe) to talks by Germaine Greer (she makes trans people feel unsafe). From Jonathan Chait’s New York essay in January, which bemoaned the return of PC to the Western academy, to the current eyebrow-raising over the Yale snowflakes and their cavalier attitude towards ‘the crucial liberal tradition of free speech’, an anti-PC backlash has emerged, with 40-plus observers looking with horror at the foot-stomping Stalinists of the younger generation. […]
Closely related to this institutionalisation of censorship has been the relentless rise of the therapeutic outlook. This new view of humanity eschews the old John Stuart Mill attitude – which celebrated self-government, the ‘firmness and self-control’ of the individual – and replaces it with a view of individuals as weak, threatened, easily damaged by horrible happenings, cutting words: ‘scarred for life’. On campuses in Britain and the US, this autonomy-slamming outlook could be seen in the spread of wellbeing classes, an obsession with student stress, the introduction of ‘therapy dogs’ (seriously), and various other measures designed to stroke allegedly fragile students’ sense of self-worth rather than let them negotiate life’s ups and downs for themselves. If they think of themselves as weak, so weak they cannot read an email, that really isn’t surprising: we have been telling them they’re weak for 20 years.
This, I submit, is to be laid squarely at the feet of the American left and its culture of victimhood pretty much everywhere you turn. Everyone except white males are victims of something, now, if they want to be, playing the role of being retarded by about 15 years in social development.
One last thing, retarded children of Yale, et al: we’re laughing at you, not with you. (I still recall that lesson from Mrs. Derringer, 6th grade, and she was right.)