Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Modern parenting isn't working
Josh is 19. He finished school 14 months ago and has been enjoying a "gap year". But his "gap year" - rapidly becoming two - hasn't been spent in Asia or Africa or even flipping burgers at the local McDonalds.
No, Josh has spent his gap year in his room, playing Xbox round the clock, emerging only at dinner time to eat whatever his mother, Karen, has cooked for him.
So last week Karen went out for the day taking the Xbox with her. All afternoon she ignored the increasingly furious texts and phone messages from Josh. When she returned home, he was livid.
She held her ground. "You're not getting it back until you find a job," she told him.
And that's when her son exploded. "You f***ing bitch," he screamed at her, raising his arm as if to strike her. "Don't think I'm going to get a f***ing job."
It's an indication of Karen's distress that she even confided in me. Our children - and how they turn out - are the deepest measure of ourselves. To tell someone your child is lazy, belligerent and violent is to invite judgement of that most noble and elemental of acts: parenting.
Yet as my children canter into their teens these are the stories I'm hearing more and more. Revealed after a drink or in a moment of desperation, they point to a growing culture of entitled kids and floundering parents.
There's the single mother whose daughter shamelessly steals from her wallet; the porn-addicted teen who told his sister he wants to shove his girlfriend down the stairs; the mum who's come out the other side of breast cancer to discover her 16-year-old is squandering his life to ice. All nice kids from nice homes with nice parents. So what's going wrong?
I was contemplating this as I stepped on the escalator at my local shopping centre. Ahead stood parents with a toddler. The toddler was running up and down the escalator blocking a long queue of fellow shoppers.
"Come hold my hand," called the little girl's mother, at which the child laughed and dashed ahead.
Did the mum scoop up her child? Did she tell her that we don't play on escalators? Or that we need to consider others? No, she laughed. Then looked at the rest of us to join in mutual celebration of her child's cuteness.
I've always been a champion of parents. Support, listen, don't blame. We're all doing the best we can. But modern parenting isn't working. Our kids are stressed, entitled, fat, over-medicated, fragile and lacking resilience. And they've got that way because parents have assigned their power over to their little princes and princesses.
"Parents are at risk of losing primacy over their children," says psychologist Leonard Sax, sounding a warning in his new book, The Collapse of Parenting.
Indeed, in the generation between being a child and raising a child, I've witnessed the demise of the benign dictatorship and the emergence of the family democracy. Sure, in the Republic of Spineless Parenting it's very loving and everyone is heard, kids are asked what they'd like to eat, prizes are plentiful, bedtimes are flexible and everyone has the newest iPhone. But in focusing on nurturing we've forgotten that other key pillar of parenting: governance. That someone has to be the boss.
Yet, as Sax writes, "this is at odds with modern society where we eschew hierarchy in favour of equality. Children are no longer minors but another minority group to be upheld even though, as he points out, "parents who are authoritative have better outcomes".
So how do we weave boundaries, discipline and calm governance with the necessary warmth, fun and open communication we've brought to Parenting 2.0?
Research (and common sense) tells me it's self-belief. Sure, parenting prowess is not factory loaded but our instincts are generally sound. On a picnic when my kids were small I noticed all the children were eating in the camping chairs while their parents sat on a rug. "Something's not right here," I laughed and have since used that scene as a reminder that children need to be considered not exalted.
Surely, too, we need to model to them our best selves. If we want relaxed kids we need to be relaxed. If we want kindness, be kind. Likewise humility, empathy, humour and joy.
What else? We need to take care of our own relationships. An essay earlier this year spelled out "how American parenting is killing the American marriage".
Parenting, argued the authors, has become a religion wherein it's sacrilegious to say anything bad about your kids or love your partner as much as your offspring.
We need to issue fewer questions and more instructions - "put on your shoes" not "can you put on your shoes?" And when they don't, there needs to be a consequence: "What a shame we can't go to the park".
Finally, don't plug your absence with stuff. Kids don't need to be the kings of castles, but dirty rascals.
Life in black-run Baltimore
By: Daniel Horowitz
As a life-long resident of central Maryland, I'd like to present my readers with a personal view of what it will be like when, thanks to suicidal immigration policies and the creation of a permanent Democrat majority, the rest of the country becomes like Baltimore.
I touched on some of these issues last month in "Baltimore, Gun Control, and the Moral Bankruptcy of Liberalism," but I'd like to expand upon the moral dyslexia in light of the update in the trial against the six officers being charged for the murder of Freddie Gray. The trial court judge is now forcing one officer to testify against his fellow officer even though they are both on trial, and said testimony could be used to incriminate the first officer.
Officer Porter was treated as presumed guilty unless he could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was innocent.
It is bad enough that Freddie Gray even became a story. Had this man been white, nobody would have heard of the story. This is a man who self-immolated in a freakish accident by slamming his neck into a bolt in the back of a police van after he was arrested by the Baltimore City Police. There was absolutely no probable cause to indict the six police officers on reasonable suspicion that they intended to let Freddie Gray die. There was not enough evidence even for a civil case, much less a criminal one. Yet, last April, state's attorney Marilyn Mosby issued an indictment for murder and announced it at a racially-tinged pep rally where she said she'd heard "the call of `no justice, no peace.'"
In the most flagrant violation of our most foundational principles on the rule of law, the first officer, William Porter, was put on trial in December to please the local mob in its very own jurisdiction. If there ever was a case to be made that a trial be moved to a different jurisdiction for concern of both partiality and intimidation of the jury, this is the case. Yet, the defendants were repeatedly denied that request. Throughput the trial, officer Porter was treated as presumed guilty unless he could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was innocent and could demonstrate that he didn't know the predicament of Gray during the van ride.
Appallingly, at least some members of the jury wanted to convict him, resulting in a hung jury. Amazingly, the judge decided to retry Porter, even though we are going on nine months since the indictment. These cops are being treated differently than anyone else simply because they are cops in Baltimore City amidst a media circus exacerbated by Obama's Justice Department because the victim was black. This is not the color-blind society of which Martin Luther King dreamt.
Freeze frame at this point: The local and state "legal" system has already violated the defendants' Fourth Amendment (probable cause), Fifth Amendment (due process), Sixth Amendment (right to both a speedy trial and an impartial jury), and 14th Amendment rights (equal protection in its truest sense, not by the media's standards).
Now the trial judge is forcing Officer Porter to testify against another indicted officer, Caesar Goodson, even though that testimony can be used to incriminate him. In this unprecedented move, Judge Barry G. Williams is blatantly violating the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment without granting Porter immunity from prosecution but is telling Porter not to worry, the testimony won't be used against him in his own trial. Sure, tell that to the jury pool, which has already shown itself to be tainted. Moreover, Porter is not protected by this promise on a federal level because his testimony can be used against him in the case that Obama's egregious civil rights investigation leads to an indictment on federal charges.
The entire Bill of Rights and tenants of law and order are being vitiated in order to pacify a mob and placate the pagan Gods of political correctness.
But it gets worse. With the police on the sidelines, certainly it is up to the people to protect themselves, right?
As a result of the criminalization of basic police work, Baltimore police have retreated from the procedures and policies that have resulted in the two-decades decline in crime. Crime in Baltimore has skyrocketed to the point that the city set a new record for homicides and had the most homicides per capita of any city in the country. While most of the murders have been downtown, the robberies and muggings have spilled over into the suburbs. My neighborhood is under the worst security predicament I've seen in my lifetime.
With the police on the sidelines, certainly it is up to the people to protect themselves, right? Well, the liberal deviants thought of everything. While they let criminals out of jail and prosecute police officers for doing their jobs, they seriously infringe upon the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. Very few people are allowed to carry guns in Maryland and many individuals who want to become first-time gun owners must go through a long process lasting several months to even purchase a single firearm for home defense. After shredding the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and 14th Amendments, why not toss in the Second as well?
This is the nightmare scenario of a government that creates super rights for protected classes and infringes upon the impregnable and foundational rights of all citizens. This is what will play out in all of America if we don't reclaim our sovereignty, security, and civil society.
The dead end that British libertarianism - and much American - has found itself in since about 1980.
By Sean Gabb
In this time, standard libertarian writing has veered between an arid economism and cultural leftism. The question of who owns the coal mines, or the railway network, is obviously important. But it is not centrally important. Indeed, many of the things written about by libertarians are not only of secondary importance, but the positions taken have been counter-productive.
For example, there is a good case in the abstract for privatising the prisons and the police. There would still, in a stateless society, be need of law enforcement. Since this could not be done by the State, it would need to rest on some kind of voluntary provision. This being said, allowing private enterprise into these areas at the present time does nothing to reduce the extent of coercive power. It simply alters the nature of that power, by making it more opaque and therefore less accountable. It blurs the distinction between private enterprise and the State in ways that would have been thought dangerous between 1945 and 1980, and that are dangerous in any event.
If a constable employed by Her Majesty the Queen behaves abusively or illegally, you have a direct line of complaint that goes through your Member of Parliament to the Home Secretary. So long as you are reasonably intelligent, and have a good case, you will generally have redress. You will have this without needing to spend time and money in the civil courts. If you get into an argument with a private contractor, there is no direct line of complaint except through the civil courts - and no one goes to law in this country unless he is rich or slightly mad, or both.
As for prisons, when these are owned and run by the State, those working for them have an interest in cushy working arrangements and nice pensions, but do not generally try to influence the content of the criminal law. A private enterprise prison, on the other hand, will be run by an obvious interest group. If you own a prison, and you want to make a profit from using its inmates as slave labour, you will not want your cells filled the dross who have traditionally found themselves inside. You will want drug-dealers and tax-evaders and even political prisoners - the kind of people you can rent out as booking clerks and call centre operatives. You will, therefore, lobby for the retention of victimless crimes and for longer sentencing.
Similar objections can be made to a whole range of the policies advocated by libertarians for the past generation. So far from reducing the power of the State, these have tended to enable the growth of a police state.
A better approach is to make a fearless defence of freedom of speech and association, and to support any group of people who want to be left alone. This nowadays involves a defence of Christians and identitarians, and perhaps of some Islamic separatists. A quarter of a century ago, I was seen as broadly on the side of the angels when I spoke up for a group of sado-masochistic homosexuals who were prosecuted for beating each other up in private. One of them, I recall, was convicted of the horrid crime of "aiding and abetting an assault on himself." I got a couple of funny looks, but no one thought of shunning me, or thinking me a bad person. Happy days. The modern victims of state power tend to be people who want to explain in public that homosexuals will go to Hell, or that there are too many black faces in the country, or that politicians and the police are fair game for retaliation.
In my younger days, I was able to move slightly ahead of the pack in part of the direction we have come. Any libertarian now must stand against the tide.
But this brings me to cultural leftism. I still make a point of insisting that there is nothing wrong with all-male sex. I believe in general that everyone should be equal before the law, and that no criminal laws should be made that focus disproportionately on any ethnic or religious or sexual group.
But the time when homosexuals and black people and women were victims of state discrimination is long past. Words and slogans that I was happy to take up when young, because they were about legal equality, have been drained of their old meaning. They are now the cover for an attack on the rights, and even the existence, of the traditional peoples of this country. The object is no longer legal equality, but the creation of a new and heterogeneous population that can only be kept at peace by an unaccountable police state.
We need, then, to distinguish between a defence of individual rights and the advocacy of "political correctness." Any libertarian who drops this challenge, and takes refuge in muttering about transaction taxes in the City of London, is not putting the libertarian case as it needs to be put.
I go further. In all times and places, libertarianism of any kind has been a minority interest. Freedom has only ever been the rule when libertarians have allied themselves with other ideological interests. The considerable changes of the past quarter century have brought our traditional alliance with big business into question - just as, a hundred years ago, our alliance with the landed interest ceased to be viable. We need now to start looking for understandings with ideological interests that are not in themselves libertarian, but that might, if they succeed, establish an order less practically illiberal than the present order of things.
Ex-Muslim: Koran Revealed a Religion I Did Not Like
GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Mona Walter is on a mission. Her mission is for more Muslims to know what is in the Koran. She says if more Muslims knew what was in the Koran, more would leave Islam.
Walter came to Sweden from Somalia as a war refugee when she was 19. She says she was excited about joining a modern European nation with equal rights for women. But as a young Muslim woman, that was not the Sweden she encountered.
A Real Introduction to Islam
It was in Sweden that she first experienced radical Islam on a daily basis.
"I discovered Islam first in Sweden. In Somalia, you're just a Muslim, without knowing the Koran. But then you come to Sweden and you go to mosque and there is the Koran, so you have to cover yourself and you have to be a good Muslim."
Walter says she grew up in Somalia never having read the Koran.
"I didn't know what I was a part of. I didn't know who Mohammed was. I didn't know who Allah was. So, when I found out, I was upset. I was sad and I was disappointed," she recalled.
And it was in Sweden that Walters says she discovered Allah is a god who hates, and that Islam is not a religion of peace.
"It's about hating and killing those who disagree with Islam. It's about conquering. Mohammed, he was immoral. He was a bloodthirsty man. He was terrible man, and Muslims can read that in his biography -- what he did to Jews, how he raped women, how he killed people. I mean, he killed everyone who didn't agree with him," she explained.
Discouraged, Walter left Islam and became an atheist, until one day a family member encouraged her to read the Bible. She still remembers the first time she read Matthew 5:44, where Jesus said to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
Christianity, a New Perspective
"It was very strange for me to 'love your enemy,' because in Islam it is 'kill your enemy.' 'Kill your enemy and anyone who refuses Islam.' But Jesus Christ was all about love and peace and forgiveness and tolerance, and for some reason, I needed that," she said.
She went to see Pastor Fouad Rasho of Angered Alliance Church, a Syrian immigrant who ministers to former Muslims in Sweden.
"She started to believe and she came to me. And that was the beginning of her trusting," he said.
When she accepted Christ, Walter said she felt "so happy" and "filled with joy."
Walter says the Lord gave her a burden for Muslims who still do not know the truth about Islam. And she began to study the Koran, and began copying verses from the Koran and handing them out on the street to Muslim women.
Rescuing Muslims with Truth
"Sometimes they listen and sometimes they become very upset, and I tell them, 'You know your husband has a right to beat you if you don't obey him?' And they say 'No, It does not say that.' 'Yes, it does say that.' I thought if I tell them about Muhammed and about the Koran and about this god of Islam who hates, who kills, who discriminates against women, maybe they will have a choice and leave," she explained.
But in politically correct Sweden, Walter has come under attack for simply repeating what is in the Koran.
"I've been called an 'Islamophobe,' and yeah [they tell me], 'You've been bought,' 'You're a house nigger,' and stuff like that, terrible things, " she said.
She has also been called a racist. Walter warns that Islamic radicalism is a serious threat in Sweden, and says Swedish society should care more about women trapped in Islam.
"[Swedes] will think, 'Oh, we're in Sweden; we have freedom of religion,' but Muslim women don't have freedom of religion. They live under the law of Allah, not under Swedish law. So they will suppose everyone has freedom of religion. We don't have freedom of religion. It's not for Muslim women. It's for everyone else," Walter argued.
Walter lives under death threats and sometimes travels with police protection. She wanted to show us Muslim areas around Gothenburg, but had to first dress as a Muslim. She believes if she were to show her face, she would be attacked.
"I can never go to those areas just being me, flesh and blood Mona. I would never get out of there alive," she said.
"I mean, Muslims are normally good people like everyone else," she continued. "But then when they read the Koran, then they become a killing machine."
"This so-called ISIS or el Shabab or Boko Haram, they're not like extremists. They're not fanatical. They're just good Muslims, good Muslims who follow the teachings of Islam. The prophet Mohammed, he did that. They're doing what he did," she explained.
Walter now uses videos and speaking appearances to spread her message. And she says she won't stop, even though her life is in danger.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.