Memo From the Ministry of Gender: Slavery is Liberation!
But the left doesn't tolerate diversity, so that makes me an atavistic and reactionary counter-revolutionary to the workplace gender revolution. Yes, in the upside-down world of the left, to liberate a woman from being a wage-or-career slave is to enslave her.
I'll admit that I don't understand the point of a revolution that actually diminishes slack -- that robs us of precious family time and forces us to work at some stupid and meaningless job, whether one is flipping burgers or rolling hot dogs or reading the news on TV or pretending to teach ineducable young college adolts or whatever.
I mean, I fully realize that in some cases it's financially necessary (it's usually much more volitional than most people realize, a matter of values and priorities, not genuine need), but that doesn't alter the reality that it is nevertheless preferable for a child to have a mother and for a man to have a home and not a decaying sports bar (which is what my house would become without the Woman's Touch). What most strikes me about the feminist's stance on this is their utter lack of empathy for children. I'm big enough to deal with the sports bar, and the local pizza parlor will take care of the rest.
It's actually painful to imagine how much children need their parents -- a mother and a father, who fulfill very different psychological and spiritual functions -- and one can't help thinking that this empathic failure results from some repressed childhood trauma.
One perennial way to manage such intrapsychic conflict is to project it into one's own child and symbolically punish him so as to turn the tables. After all, this routinely occurs in other contexts, so there's no reason whatsoever to believe that so-called "working mothers" (itself a not-so-subtle putdown) would be exempt.
In fact, the one ironyclad argument feminists have here is that some mothers are so toxic that it is actually preferable for the child to minimize contact with them, and take their chances on finding a replacement via culture, friends, teachers, television, drugs, etc. Since mothers have always acted out unconscious conflicts with their children, abandoning them for some silly job is just the latest iteration of this pathology.
One hardly needs physical distance to abandon someone. One can easily do it in the other's presence -- which in a way is more damaging, because it's not as easy to recognize: the person looks as if they're with you, but they're actually miles away. Intimacy is not necessarily a function of proximity. Just as sex can be a disguise for mutual masturbation, parenting can be a mask for... something.
For example, to take an extreme case, imagine your mother is Gloria Allred, or Nancy Pelosi, or Jane Fonda. I can't see a child benefiting from prolonged contact with Nancy Pelosi, but the catch there is that she now becomes the problem for 300 million people instead of one little victim.
Yes, Nancy Pelosi wants to suckle us all, even those of us who have long since weaned ourselves form the government teat. And I certainly don't want to be suckled by Obama. Not that there's anything wrong with it.
Although it sounds like a joke, I don't want to minimize the importance of getting certain mothers into the workplace in order to Protect the Children. A great deal of child abuse is able to go on under cover of parenting. Since many people aren't in charge of anything -- beginning with themselves -- it can be an intoxicating feeling to play God over a helpless little soul. Imagine the possibilities!
Just last night I read passage in The Devil in the White City -- great read, BTW -- which briefly describes the childhood of the psychotically sadistic mass murderer, Dr. H. H. Holmes. His parents were said to be "devout Methodists whose response to even routine misbehavior relied heavily on the rod and prayer, followed by banishment to the attic and a day with neither speech nor food."
Thus, it seems that it would have been preferable for Holmes' mother to have worked as a waitress, or maybe been the head of some castrating feminist organization, at least for young H. H. As it turned out, let's just say that he had a fair amount of pent-up rage toward women that he acted out in uniquely creative ways.
It's a cliché to say that the family is the fundamental and irreplaceable unit of civilization. But the problem with a cliché isn't necessarily that it's untrue, but that it can become invisible and therefore unthinkable. Rather, it just becomes a background assumption that is no longer thought about.
But that's precisely where cultural revolutionaries come in to fill the void. It's odd to have to say this, but many of the most intelligent and sophisticated people -- because they are genrally subject to the most indoctrination -- don't know why it is preferable for a child to have a mother and father, or why full time daycare is damaging, or why a child needs a mother at home. To be liberated from reality is not liberation. Nor is it exactly slavery, in that no outside agency is compelling it.
Then what is it? I would call it rebellion, in that the rebel is always inwardly attached to the object of rebellion. And it isn't always pathological.
Take, for example, the normal rebellion of adolescence, when the child needs to distance himself from the parents in order to discover and forge his own identity. Obviously he can't just be an extension of the parents, but must become who he is. It is important for parents to "play along" with this rebellion in helpful ways. It may seem as if it's a different parental task, but it is actually the same task with a different developmental need.
For example, my son has had very different needs at two weeks, six months, three years, and seven years. Perhaps the biggest job of a parent is to be the object the child needs at this or that age, in order to cope with the specific developmental hurdle before him. It doesn't mean you're being "phony." Rather, you're always completely present with you're child, at least if you're a good and conscientious parent. They know when you're faking.
Which is precisely why it can be so taxing. I am in awe of my wife's ability to be "present" for my son over these past seven years. It isn't easy, especially for an interpersonally demanding child who craves human contact. She had another career before motherhood, and it would be easy enough to do that instead.
But not really, because if she did, I think she'd die of empathy. Plus, I'd no longer have a slave to oppress.