All Joy and No Fun


B.R. Merrick's picture

This article leaves me speechless, and also unsure of how I should feel. There are moments, little flashes of light, where the author almost seems to understand underlying causes, and so forth, but much of what was written, including some of her own conclusions, do not take into account the nature of freedom, and the nature of coercion.

"But the abundance of choices -- whether to have kids, when, how many -- may be one of the reasons parents are less happy." The idea that "too many choices" can lead to less happiness makes no sense, from any free market perspective. If this statement were true, then all arguments for freedom fall flat. People are unhappy when they have no choice, or when only one choice is acceptable, as when people are coerced into doing something. More choices engage people, and are bound to create happiness.

Unhappy parents "become parents later in life." Really? So age is a natural factor, or is it more to do with the false expectations and outright lies that so many of us believe? There is no proof of age's changing people's behavior toward children, unless you take into account that older people have less energy than younger people, but that does not appear to be what the article is referring to.

"There are right and wrong ways to discipline a child." There is no right way to discipline a child, and I do not include putting locks on cupboards, putting a fence in the yard, or giving out warnings about activities that may prove dangerous. Discipline is spanking (on the erogenous zone), grounding, taking away choices (see above), toys or "privileges," arguing, etc. And what was the author doing building a wooden model of a parking garage in front of a curious toddler? Why didn't she lock important things away? Why are grown-ups so absent-minded around children?

"One of the things he noticed is that countries with stronger welfare systems produce more children -- and happier parents... More generous government policies... would certainly make parents happier." One of the author's "solutions," then, is to steal money from millions in coercive fashion, to aid coercive individuals in introducing coercion on defenseless children, so that they will think of this system as "good," and reintroduce numerous systems of coercion on their own children someday.

"[S]he was particularly struck by the female contributors who’d made the deliberate choice to remain childless. It enabled them to travel or live abroad for their work; to take physical risks; to, in the case of a novelist, inhabit her fictional characters without being pulled away by the demands of a real one. There was a richness and texture to their work lives that was so, so enviable, she says." This is pure, feminist fantasizing about other people's lives. Feminism was never intended to just put more women in the work force, it was intended for a few women to obtain the enviable positions that had previously been held by men, and mostly European, Christian, land-owning, well-connected, white men. Work, in general, stinks. Men are routinely thinking of ways to get out of more work. Now many women are as well. Great job, girls! And the most defenseless among us, the children, will suffer the brunt of it.

"Most studies show that marriages improve once children enter latency, or the ages between 6 and 12, though they take another sharp dive during the war zone of adolescence." I'm not surprised that "adolescence," a made-up word, is a "war zone." These young adults are sent to prison five days a week, denied their free time by having to do prison work at home, and constantly reminded of their "adolescence." Their ovaries and testicles say different.

After a long day, the parents "were exhausted and staring at the television." See my very first article at STR, about this poisonous, poisonous instrument. What the parents really did was to experience a dull, peaceful high. It's a drug. And they're drugging their children with it as well.

"But they also provide unrivaled moments of frustration, tedium, anxiety, heartbreak." Reading the section about the mother yelling at her child about homework (the prison work mentioned above), I can see why it is tedious, anxiety-producing, and heartbreaking. When you choose to apply a system of coercion in any relationship, it will die. The relationship between this mother and son will be permanently dysfunctional as a result. "What it doesn’t show is the love this mother feels for her son, which we can pretty much bet has no equal. Nor does it convey that this unpleasant task she’s undertaking is part of a larger project, one that pays off in subtler dividends than simply having fun." Oh no, she doesn't, and no it doesn't. There is nothing about "love" in what the mother is doing. If she really thought she knew what was best, she would remember her own individuality, her own process of learning, the pain of making a mistake, and the joy of correcting it. She would leave him alone in his own process, and listen instead of lecture. If she really loved him, she would not send him to prison unquestioningly. This is not love. This is control, and trying to turn the thing despised into something more tolerable, perhaps even loveable, at a later date. It is death-oriented, and reading about it makes me very sad. And there is nothing that is going to pay off in "subtler dividends" later on, except more lies, hypocrisy, ignorance, and death orientation.

I need to get home and get started on it, but I can tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that all the problems listed in this frightening article have to do with people who believe that coercion can be initiated for good. This is false, as all coercion leads directly and immediately to death -- four deaths in succession. (Stay tuned.) Secondly, I think these parents are still under the illusion that they were loved oh-so-very much by their own parents, as Alice Miller said, but are almost totally unaware of how they were hurt as children. I have seen the repetition of this hurt in action, even in my own life toward my nieces and nephews when they were little. It is easy to reproduce when you are unwilling to face it in yourself. It leads almost immediately to coercion, which then leads directly and immediately to death.

I will say this about the article, though. In spite of all the hurt and coercion used against me, at least I had parents who spent time with me because they wanted to, and who didn't agonize over the lives they lost when they had kids. I feel very, very sad for every child victim of these idiotic, coercive, unskilled, unloving, hurt, lonely, and pathetic parents.