Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Obama: Proof that in America, Any Kid Can Grow Up to be Petulant!

Genesis delves into a number of our orthoparadoxical complementarities, including individual/community and male/female. It troubles me when Biblical literalists appeal to some obscure passage in Leviticus to frame their arguments against homosexuality, when the issue is so much larger than that. As Brueggeman puts it,

"On the one hand, humankind is a single entity. All human persons stand in solidarity before God. But on the other hand, humankind is a community, male and female." Neither alone is the full image, thus the community of Israel, the body of Christ, and marriage, each of which illuminates the part/whole relation: we ourselves are only whole when we are part of something larger. Which goes to the trinitarian nature of the Godhead.

Thus, Jesus "is not an idea which lives in a cosmological vacuum." Rather, "it is an explicit call to form a new kind of human community in which the members, after the manner of the gracious God, are attentive in calling each other to full being in fellowship."

Or in other words, we help each other to become more human, to actualize our potential, to become who we are, to discover our idiom.

This can only be accompliced in the proper community. In fact, most communities not only do not facilitate these things, but actively block them. I know that's how it was for me in my depressing slog through public education: it digested me rather than vice versa.

And it's only getting worse. In Psychology Today, of all places, there's a perceptive piece on how fragile students have become:

"[S]tudents’ emotional fragility has become a serious problem when it comes to grading. Some [teachers] said they had grown afraid to give low grades for poor performance, because of the subsequent emotional crises they would have to deal with in their offices. Many students, they said, now view a C, or sometimes even a B, as failure, and they interpret such 'failure' as the end of the world."

Teachers "described an increased tendency to see a poor grade as reason to complain rather than as reason to study more, or more effectively. Much of the discussions had to do with the amount of handholding faculty should do versus the degree to which the response should be something like, 'Buck up, this is college.'

"Students are afraid to fail; they do not take risks; they need to be certain about things. For many of them, failure is seen as catastrophic and unacceptable. External measures of success are more important than learning and autonomous development.

"We have raised a generation of young people who have not been given the opportunity to learn how to solve their own problems. They have not been given the opportunity to get into trouble and find their own way out, to experience failure and realize they can survive it, to be called bad names by others and learn how to respond without adult intervention. So now, here’s what we have: Young people, 18 years and older, going to college still unable or unwilling to take responsibility for themselves, still feeling that if a problem arises they need an adult to solve it."

Tell me about it. This may be my last season of coaching baseball, because I cannot believe what I am seeing: eleven or twelve year old boys who cry when they are called out, or who ask to sit out an inning because they are "too hot," or who insist on pitching when it will only hurt the team because they can't freaking throw a strike.

Before the first game, when we were handing out uniforms, one kid started crying because he wanted a different number. He became petulant and refused the jersey, even though the number he wanted was on a much larger jersey and would have looked like a dress on him. I could go on and on... But how are we producing these dysfunctional pussies? If you tell them to be a man, they genuinely have no idea what you're talking about!

The implications are not trivial, because I think this is ultimately how we end up with a president Obama. Mitt Romney received 62% of the white male vote in 2012, which translates to 100% of the white male vote.

Another unblogged book sitting on my desk is Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child. It's only so-so, but I'll bet it goes to some of what was just said above.

Esolen addresses the critical distinction between freedom and compulsion. For example, back in my day, no kid would have been "free" to pout and refuse his jersey. It was beyond the horizon of anyone's imagination, unless the kid were retarded or something. So what was this brat exhibiting, if not freedom? Such boneless wonders are "in the deadly habit of simultaneously exalting themselves and making themselves puny" (speaking of Obama!).

"I believe we are bringing children up not for the freedom we enjoy but for the compulsions we suffer. Some of those compulsion we even mistake for freedom, so that the more of them we win, the more tightly we bind ourselves, body and soul." So if that kid wins the Battle of the Jersey, he really loses, as he remains mired in his infantile compulsion.

I have to admit, I could have handled the situation better. I was so taken aback that I was caught somewhat speechless. If I could go back and do it again, I would have simply dropped the jersey at his feet, said "man up," "not my problem," or "deal with it, Private Snowball," and moved on. After all, that is what he desperately needs.

Esolen: "To be 'free' is not to do as you please but rather to realize the fulfillment of your natural and created being, without impediments." The "drive for love and truth is itself [man's] liberty." This is opposed to a range of counterfeit choices that convince the person he is free, when he really dwells "in a cramped world, spiritually and intellectually and humanly speaking."

Esolen implicitly touches on the subject of mind parasites. As we have discussed in the past (and in the book), when you are under the compulsion of a mind parasite, it can be accompanied by a subjective sense of freedom. But its freedom is really your compulsion; thus, they "make us less than human. They bind us to automatisms. They give us choice in what is evil or foolish or trivial, just as the keepers of an asylum will let their charges watch television or play poker for pennies."

This is the same liberal stupidity that sets you free. It is a wholly negative freedom, or a freedom without content, direction, or telos. Thus it is the very quintessence of nihilism, literally another word for disordered or worthless or futile. And it is, by the way, the same freedom promised by the serpent in our nonlocal garden.

"Freedom, in the end, is an intrinsic virtue, not an extrinsic condition, an accident of politics. It is not a negative -- freedom from. Instead it is positive -- freedom for." It is "the unimpeded capacity of a creature to make real the fulfillment that is built into its very nature" (Esolen).

16 Comments:

Blogger Van Harvey said...

"But how are we producing these dysfunctional pussies? If you tell them to be a man, they have no idea what you're talking about!"

Asked and answered.

10/13/2015 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Things I should have said: "baseball jerseys are not made in girl's sizes."

10/13/2015 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

This may be my last season of coaching baseball, because I cannot believe what I am seeing: eleven or twelve year old boys who cry when they are called out, or who ask to sit out an inning because they are "too hot," or who insist on pitching when it will only hurt the team because they can't freaking throw a strike.

I had a good teaching moment with the boy yesterday at the playground. He fell off a balance beam and slammed his hip bone on the way down, leaving a big bruise; he was all ready to quit the playground and go home and nurse the pain and suffering, but I told him (after making sure nothing was broken - it obviously hurt a lot) that first he had to walk the beam again. He's five, so it took a bribe, but the benefit was immediately apparent - he discovered that falling once was no reason not to try again, and that's it's much better to learn from a mistake and keep going. We stayed and played for another half hour and the suffering was forgotten, but he was proud of himself for sticking it out. The whining is strong in this one, so I expect I'll be teaching the same lesson a million times over, but better that than having an eleven-year-old crybaby who can't handle a little discomfort and feels like dying when even the slightest wish goes unfulfilled.

10/13/2015 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

So if that kid wins the Battle of the Jersey, he really loses, as he remains mired in his infantile compulsion.

I have to admit, I could have handled the situation better. I was so taken aback that I was caught somewhat speechless.


We know another kid who has frequent, ear shattering tantrums, far past the age she should be doing it. Plus just generally disrespectful at times. Hard to be around, and often hard to properly respond to because you don't expect a kid to act the way she does at her age. I don't envy them her teen years.

10/13/2015 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Gotta do this.

10/13/2015 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

lol - exactly.

10/13/2015 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

It can all be summed up here.

10/13/2015 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This is so true. I don't even want to imagine what would have happened to me at home if I had ever made a scene like that at school or in public. These kids have no shame.

10/13/2015 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

""We have raised a generation of young people who have not been given the opportunity to learn how to solve their own problems.""

What's this "we" bs? Based on my own benservations, the "we" the author is referring to seems to be almost exclusively those who embrace leftist idiotology.
It's pretty rare to see children of conservatives acting like that.

I know my wife and I taught our daughters to man up when they need to solve problems, to take responsibility for their own actions, and that they must earn what they get, not expect people to give them everything. We weren't easy on them because they were girls, nor did we subscribe to the popular trend to treat them like fragile wallflowers.

10/13/2015 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I dunno. I'd like to agree with you, Ben, but I see an awful lot of women who read conservative, but are still heavily influenced by the dominant culture. Which means that they are often uncomfortable with boyness; they generally still think college is the best course for young adults; they worry excessively about safety in all areas; they sometimes confuse self-esteem with self respect; etc., etc. They try not to hover, but often can't help it. When the message kids receive, day in and day out from everywhere, is that they should worry about their safety, they learn to recoil from anything that smacks of danger.

Come to think of it, the overarching or underlyin' theme is worry. Parents are constantly worried about all sorts of things, many of which strike me as the wrong sorts of things, and this is a strong driver in their parenting. I can't exclude myself from that, but I tend to worry about different things than many other parents I know, and I try to worry as little as possible.

10/13/2015 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I won't argue with that Julie. I suppose I should've said conservatives who actually are conservative (not just politically), rather than just give lip service to it, and are really more like populists, or are only conservative on select subjects.
There's definitely a lot less conservatives or classical liberals than I ever thought who are registered republicans.

What I wrote above has only been my experience among conservatives I know, so it doesn't accurately reflect reality.
My main point is, that virtually all leftists seem to embrace not teaching individual responsibility to their children or themselves.
But yes, there are plenty of self-described conservatives and libertarians who do the same thing.

10/13/2015 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Life should begin in a world of love and boundaries. It should end in freedom and certainty. Moving a child from one to the other is parenting.

I'm certainly not any better at it than anyone else, but seeing it that way helps me. Although I wish that at 62 I didn't still have to parent myself so much of the time.

10/13/2015 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

On an unrelated note, at The Federalist there's discussion of the destruction of language as part of a Gnostic dualism. It strikes me as a bit muddled - though that may be the lack of coffee - but he does make some good points. Anyway, if the goal of the Gnostic is to escape from individuality and return to Oneness, such a reunification could only be hell for everyone involved. Which makes me suspect that the people who want this want not so much to be unified with everyone, but only with the proper sorts of people (however that may be defined). As to everyone else, well... they're not really human anyway.

10/14/2015 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, Gnosticism always appeals to an elitism -- as in Marxism and other secular Gnosticisms which always end in two classes under the guise of ending classes. It's certainly the pattern of the modern left, which loves mankind to death.

10/14/2015 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And I like NoMo's formula: love + boundaries --> freedom + certainty.

10/14/2015 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous popemobile said...

Although I might have thought "man up," I would have said, "Why are you on the team if you do not want to be a team player. After all, someone who has not chosen to be a man will not want to be told to be one. But he has chosen to be on the team. And there you have him: a sort of "social contract" argument for rhetorical effect.

10/16/2015 08:35:00 AM  

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