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Friday, September 25, A.D. 2009
Mother Lessons

Political science jocks have long noted the marriage gap among women voters. Married women tend to vote far more for the conservative political option than single women. There are various theories to account for this discrepancy. It might be a case of self selection. A woman who identifies as a conservative might be more likely to marry than one who rejects traditional life choices. It might also be that married women tend to have children, and having a child usually makes one more concerned about the social order. Children make one “vested” in society in a more emphatic way. There is less room in the heart to glorify in unbridled freedom and individualistic fulfillment when you worry about the future of society that your child will inherit. It might also be that married women no longer stand apart from the “patriarchal structure” that modern feminists despise. They have become part of that structure, and they may be less likely to see it as something that needs to be destroyed. A wife and mother of sons might not hate men as a competing demographic group in a war of power interests, as Marxist Leftists tend to conceive of society.

This last week at the liturgy, I considered another possibility, similar to the children theory above. Watching the little ones be obstinately childish, it occurred to me that child rearing may be an antidote to stupid ideas about human nature. Raising a child makes one aware, in a very intimate and concrete way, that human beings are not the abstractions upon which one pontificates in a lit. class. Raising kids demolishes simplistic models of nature versus nurture, naive musings about Rousseauian noble savagery, and all delusions about the effectiveness of appeasement. Child rearing ought to inculcate into one an appreciation of discipline, dedication, consistency, and perseverance. Every mother is a sort of lawgiver, and lawgivers in training tend to realize that bad laws reap bad consequences.

Obviously, there are many parents who maintain foolish ideas, and perhaps, such provides a devastating counterexample to my theory. However, many Leftists live quite sensibly though harbor foolish ideas about politics. The disconnect is odd but very common. Upper class, educated Jews and W.A.S.P.‘s tend to live according to very traditional codes, yet they do not expect the rest of the population to adhere to the code that they know is good for their family. I cannot explain what underlies such an attitude . . . non-judgmentalism, relativism, elitism, or what else. Nonetheless, it does seem to be a widespread phenomenon. Maybe, the same is true of Leftists who are good mothers.

On the whole, however, it seems that mothering would be a crash course in learning about human nature, both the admirable and the shameful aspects. Someone with a better understanding of that human nature would tend to have better opinions about how men ought to organize and to conduct themselves in community.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, September 25, Anno Domini 2009
Philosophy | AnthropologyPoliticsComments
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