Identity Politics = children who are crying out to belong?

I’ve wondered about the connection between identity politics and un-met needs to belong and to be part of a “tribe,” a community, but I hadn’t yet followed that train of thought far enough back.

In The Primal Scream of Identity Politics, Mary Eberstadt provides as assessment of  identity politics and our culture that takes us back to the foundation: the family.  She examines several other authors’ analyses of identity politics (and our cultural climate) and concludes that while some have noticed important factors, no one has gone deep enough in their questions and conclusions.  The whole thing is worth a read.

“Mine! Mine! It’s mine!” The manifest panic behind cries of “cultural appropriation” is real—as real as the tantrum of a toddler. It’s as real as the developmental regression seen in the retreat to campus “safe spaces,” those tiny non-treehouses stuffed with candy, coloring books, and Care Bears. In social science, the toddler’s developmental “mine!” is called the “endowment effect”—the notion that humans ascribe extra value to possessions simply because they’re theirs. Some theorists consider it a subset of another human proclivity: loss aversion.

Maybe that cultural scream of “mine!” is issuing from souls who did have something taken from them—only something more elemental than the totemic objects now functioning as figurative blankies for lost and angry former children. As of today, less than 65 percent of American children live with both biological parents, even as other familial boughs have broken via external forces like the opioid crisis, criminality and incarceration, and globalization. Maybe depression and anxiety have been rising steadily among children and teenagers for a reason. Maybe the furor over “appropriation” unveils the true foundation of identity politics, which is pathos.

Did anyone really think things would turn out otherwise—that the massive kinship dislocations of the past 60 years wouldn’t produce increasingly visible, transformative effects not only in individual lives and households, but on politics and culture, too?

After all, it defies common sense to believe that the human surroundings during one’s formative years have no effect on the life to come. There’s also a library of social science, now over half a century in the making, tracing the links between fatherless homes and higher risks of truancy, criminality, psychiatric trouble, and the rest of the ledger suggesting that ripping up primordial ties hasn’t done society any favors. It’s all there, no matter how many of us have deep reasons for wishing otherwise.

One irony is certain. While identity politics has become an object of conversation in the left-leaning circles of Anglo-American and European political thought, deliverance from today’s disfigurations cannot come from the same quarter. The reason is simple. Not only identitarians but also liberals and progressives who are now anti-identitarian or identitarian-skeptical all agree on one big thing: The sexual revolution is off-limits for revision anywhere, anytime. It is their moral bedrock.

No-fault divorce, out-of-wedlock births, paid surrogacy, absolutism about erotic freedom, disdain for traditional moral codes: The very policies and practices that chip away at the family and drive the subsequent flight to identity politics are those that liberals and progressives embrace.

Then there are related family-unfriendly social realities that they also deem benign. Pornography, which once upon a time some feminists objected to, is now the stuff of their full-throated enthusiasm. Prostitution has been re-defined as the more anodyne “sex work.” And, of course, abortion is—in the unnervingly theological modifier applied to it by Hillary Clinton and many others on the left—“sacrosanct.” In the end, asking liberals and progressives to solve the problem of identity politics is like asking the proverbial orphan with chutzpah who murdered his parents.

Yes, conservatives have missed something major about identity politics: its authenticity. But the liberal-progressive side has missed something bigger. Identity politics is not so much politics as a primal scream. It’s the result of what might be called the Great Scattering—the Western world’s unprecedented familial dispersion.

Anyone who’s ever heard a coyote in the desert, separated at night from the pack, knows the sound. Maybe the otherwise-unexplained hysteria of today’s identity politics is just that: the collective human howl of our time, sent up by inescapably communal creatures who can no longer identify their own.

My very simplified conclusion after reading all of The Primal Scream of Identity Politics is this: maybe all the immature, hysterical acting out going on in this country really can be traced back to the destruction of the family or put more personally, mommy and daddy weren’t there to provide a stable, loving childhood.  Today’s adults were yesterday’s children who were spoiled rotten in many ways, but not given what they really needed to be able to grow-up into mature human beings.

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Rest in Peace Charlie Gard

Little Charlie Gard passed away last week.  He died in the hospital because his parents were not permitted to take him home to die in the peace of home.

What kind of evil is it that claims to be magnanimously keeping an individual’s best interests at the heart of its decisions, but won’t let that person be cared for by the people who love him most in all the world — his parents?  Won’t let that person seek alternative care elsewhere, even when it has been offered by more than one hospital and doctor, and generous strangers have donated over million dollars for his care?  Won’t let that child and his parents have the comfort of having clergy visit and pray with them?  Won’t let him, in the end, die at home?  All this in the name of doing what is good and right for that person.  We know best… your wishes, your family’s wishes, are irrelevant… we are the ones with power… you will submit…

Jenny Uebbing had this to say about Charlie and what happened to him and his family (a good summary of which can be found here):

But, but, he was going to die anyway. Extraordinary means! The Catechism says! Etc. Etc. Etc.

True. All true. And yet, his parents wanted to pursue further treatment. His mother and his father, the two human beings who, entrusted by the God with whom they co-created an immortal soul, were tasked with the immense, universe-altering task of making decisions on his behalf.

It’s called parenting.

And when the state steps over the bounds of parental interests – nay, tramples upon them – insisting that government knows best what is best for it’s citizens, (particularly when government is footing the medical bills as is the case with the socialized NHS) then we should all of us, no matter our religions or our socioeconomic statuses or our nationalities, be alarmed.

Charlie Gard was a victim of the the most heinous sort of public power struggle: a child whose humanity was reduced to a legal case and an avalanche of global publicity. And no man, not the President of the United States or the Pope himself, could do a thing to turn the tide in little Charlie’s favor once the momentum was surging against him.

The British courts and the Great Ormond Street Hospital, convinced of their own magnanimity and virtue, ruled again and again against the wishes of Charlie’s parents, frustrating at every turn their attempts to seek a second option, to try experimental treatments, to spend privately-raised funds to secure care for their child not available in their home country.

To no avail.

Charlie Gard, baptized earlier this week into the Catholic Church, went home to be with Jesus today. His innocent soul in a state of grace, we can be confident of his intimate proximity now to the sacred heart of Jesus and to the sorrowful heart of Mary. May his parents feel the comfort of knowing that they fought the good fight, and that they brought their child to the font of eternal life by baptizing him into Christ’s Church and surrendering him into heaven’s embrace as he passed from this life.

And may they find, through the powerful intercession of their little son, now whole and free from suffering, the grace to forgive his tormentors and executioners here on earth.

Charlie Gard, pray for us.

Courts create “a duty to die” for those deemed not worth saving

Wesley J. Smith writes about the difficult and heart-breaking Charlie Gard case and the potential ramifications of the UK court’s decisions.  The precedent being set in this case (and similar cases discussed by Smith, including ones in the USA) is chilling regardless of whether you think you’d make the same decisions as Charlie Gard’s parents.  Read the entire article at First Things.

… the parents of “Baby Terry”—also born after twenty-three weeks gestation—faced a similar ordeal. The ethics committee at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan weighed in on August 9, 1993, opining that to honor the parents’ desire to continue Baby Terry’s treatment “would be contrary to medical judgment and to moral and ethical beliefs of physicians caring for the patient” (my emphasis). In other words, when it came to choosing between the values of the parents—based in large part on their religious faith—and the values of doctors and hospital bioethicists, the state argued that only the latter matters.

On that basis alone, a judge found Terry’s parents unfit to make health-care decisions for Terry and stripped them of their parental rights. He awarded temporary custody to the maternal great-aunt, who had previously stated her willingness to obey the doctors. Before that could happen, the infant died in his mother’s arms, aged two-and-a-half months…

… Charlie’s, and many other similar cases I could recite, involving profoundly ill people of all ages, are examples of what is known in the bioethics trade as “futile care” or “medical futility”—or, as I call it, futile-care theory. FCT authorizes doctors to refuse or withdraw wanted life-sustaining medical treatment over the objections of family and patients when the doctors and/or a bioethics committee believe that the patient’s quality of life makes that life not worth living—or, lurking in the subtext, not worth the resources required to sustain it.

A couple of important points need to be made: We are not talking about an intervention without a potential physiological benefit to the patient—a medical determination. Rather, FCT constitutes a value judgment. As bioethicist Dr. Stuart Youngner once put it, “futility determinations will inevitably involve value judgments about: 1) whether low probability chances are worth taking; and 2) whether certain lives are of a quality worth living.”

Worse, FCT empowers strangers to make medicine’s most important and intimate health-care decisionsDeciding whether to accept or reject life-sustaining care is one of the most difficult medical choices. Under FCT, a patient’s decision—whether it be the desire of an infant patient’s guardians or written in an adult patient’s advance directive—matters less than institutional and professional opinions.

Given all that, Charlie Gard’s heartbreaking situation is not surprising. However, until Charlie’s case, the patient or family has always had the option of finding alternative care. The hospital refusing Ryan’s dialysis did not seek to prevent his transfer. Neither did the hospital in the Baby Joseph controversy.

This is where Charlie Gard’s case is breaking new and even more authoritarian ground. Not only are doctors and judges forcing Charlie off life-support; they are also declaring that their ethics rule over Charlie’s life, even if the parents—Chris and Connie Gard—find alternative care. As far as I know, this is unprecedented in futile-care controversies.

Chris and Connie have raised more than $1 million through crowdfunding to pay for Charlie to be flown to the United States for an experimental treatment that has shown some potential in other mitochondrial conditions. If that course proves impossible, they just want to take their baby home so he can die there instead of in a pediatric ICU. But the hospital administration refuses to permit Charlie to be discharged! And the courts have agreed, based on a determination of what doctors and lawyers believe to be Charlie’s “best interests.”

The only silver lining in this tragedy is that a very sick baby’s life still has the power to move hearts. Not only have Chris and Connie received tremendous popular support internationally, but they are also being backed by two of the most visible leaders in the world: Pope Francis and Donald Trump.

The refusal to allow Charlie’s parents to remove their baby boy from the hospital is an act of bioethical aggression that will extend futile-care controversies, creating a duty to die at the time and place of doctors’ choosing. And that raises a crucial liberty question: Whose baby is Charlie Gard? His parents’? Or are sick babies—and others facing futile-care impositions—ultimately owned by the hospital and the state?

The UK medical center fought in court to disallow the parents to take Charlie elsewhere for care when at one point he was offered care in the USA, and Congress offered them citizenship to do so, AND they raised $1.5 million for his care.  The UK medical establishment and courts wouldn’t even let the parents take Charlie home to die in the peace of his home if death were going to be the only option allowed to him. In these difficult cases, it can be very hard to know what is the right thing to do.  BUT having the medical center and court overrule the family’s (or individual’s) choices and force someone to die?  And die in the hospital too?  It is sickening.  And terrifying.

Cassie Jaye’s Red Pill

I recently watched The Red Pill, Cassie Jaye’s documentary on the Men’s Right Movement (MRM) and Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), and I found it rather a sad commentary on how far our culture’s view on the sexes is from where it ought to be.

The video seemed to have a twofold purpose: showing Cassie’s journey from being a feminist who viewed the MRAs as likely enemies or idiots to a not-feminist with sympathy for the MRAs and documenting what the Men’s Rights Movement was and what issues were important to these men.  Ms. Jaye honestly showed her transformation and struggles to accept new-to-her facts and ideas. She listened and gained new understanding, and the audience could follow her along the path from rejection to acceptance or at least a state of being more opening and questioning about the narrative.  Jaye interviewed many MRAs, sympathizers (including women), and even people who oppose the Men’s Rights Movement.  The documentary was well done and easy to watch.

However, I didn’t find The Red Pill as informative about the Men’s Rights Movement as I had expected. Being already rather red-pilled myself, the men’s issues that the MRAs were so concerned about bringing to the world’s attention weren’t as surprising news to me, as they had been to Jaye.  I felt sorry for these guys, but what I wanted to know was: what solution do you propose for this rotten state of affairs?  Maybe they go into detail on their websites, but I haven’t had the time or inclination to look that up. The documentary didn’t answer that question.

One MRA leader made the point that if it weren’t for the Feminist Movement, the Men’s Rights Movement wouldn’t need to exist.  That because things have been thrown out of balance, skewed in one direction, that the MRAs arose to be a counter weight to, hopefully, even things out.  He said he was sorry that the MRM needed to exist at all.

A feminist who was interviewed remarked that the MRM was just a reaction to the Feminist movement.  She was correct about that, but wrong about the motivations or reasons behind it.  It isn’t that the men “feel threatened” by women and their new so-called “freedoms” and “power.”  It is that to put themselves in a position of power, feminists have attempted to crush men under, to denigrate, and to be hateful towards men.

Many of the MRAs seemed happy to let women keep all the freedom and power they have, but want men to be treated equally.  One of them began his journey into the Men’s Rights Movement from being a male feminist.  Part of what they had to say bothered me; it’s not that men don’t deserve to be treated with the same dignity as women — of course they do — but some of the men seemed to lament that the burdens that have typically fallen to men still fall on masculine shoulders such as tough, dangerous jobs, being relied on to be the provider or even that women typically get custody in divorces because women are thought to be better at caring for children.  These men seem to be complaining that they have to suffer things like this because they are men and that it isn’t fair.

It is normal and natural for men to do the hard jobs and to provide; it is something they are much better suited for than women and usually feel called to do.  It’s really the flip side of women complaining that they are disadvantaged by having to be the ones to bear children.  It’s like some of the MRAs want a male version of feminism, a liberation from traditional male roles, rather than a return of women to more traditional roles.  No thanks.  Everyone needs to accept that each sex has both disadvantages and advantages, both weaknesses and strengths.  There really are traits that are more dominant or common to one sex or the other.  We cannot be the same no matter how much people try.  And everyone would be a lot happier if they would stop trying.

Also, all the unfair things that happen to men in family custody and child-support battles were called out in need of reform.  The problem here is that they are right in describing this all as a problem, but the solution isn’t in some sort of band-aid of court reform.  Men and women need to stop the behaviors that lead to this sort of difficulty: in other words, return to Christian morality, get married and stay married and only have children in that context.  Unfortunately, as long as people choose not to follow that model, there will be no good answer to what happens when two people who aren’t going to stay or get married have kids.  It’s a guaranteed disaster with far-reaching consequences.

Jaye, as a feminist, expected to confirm that the MRAs were misogynists, and she was surprised to be disproved.  Coming from a completely different perspective as an anti-feminist, I expected I would be sympathetic to the MRAs, but I felt less sympathetic than I thought I would.  I understood some of their complaints, especially against what feminists have done to our society and to men, but when they turned to what sounded like a rejection of traditional male roles and started to sound like the male equivalent of feminists, they lost me.

***

Here is Cassie Jaye explaining why she no longer calls herself a feminist:

Good Books for Civilizational Greatness

Coming from a family with a long history of loving books and valuing true education (not necessarily having anything to do with “school”), I found this essay by William Edmund Fahey interesting.  He writes about great and good books and the effect and importance they have on culture and education:

Our own disorders spring from so much neglect of the real soil of culture: the widely shared canon of good literature and the widely affirmed understanding that there must be goodness in literature, and that such literature should be read aloud within families and by each and every person who dares call himself civilized—before, during, and after their formal education.  Goodness is the soil of greatness.

I do not mean by goodness in literature and good literature that all characters should be plaster statues without depth or real complexity.  No, I mean literature which elicits a clear understanding of what is true, good, and beautiful, because what is light is seen nearby to what is dark.  Enchantment will not work in an imbalanced world of goody-goody mannequins.  The enchantment offered by good literature works because those reading or listening to a tale already know first-hand that life is complex.  We need go no further than Squirrel Nutkin to understand how this very real balance is achieved even in a children’s literature.  Nutkin is, at once, morally flawed and attractive.  No one who encounters Squirrel Nutkin—even one of five years—can fail to miss his conceit, fail to anticipate his demise, or fail to recognize his own fallenness in the impertinent will-to-power of Nutkin.

I will go so far as to say that a reader who has not had his experience nurtured and refined by the likes of Squirrel Nutkin is unlikely to comprehend Thucydides, St. Augustine, or Nietzsche.

Do the Great Books Sustain Wonder and Lead to Morality?

Over the last century, “great books” programs and colleges have fought a valiant battle to keep up the high standard of what it means to be human and civilized.  Sadly, most of the progenitors of these programs neglected or gave little time to thinking about the supporting culture—especially as it touched upon family life and social customs.  Worse still, some of the “great books” proponents thought that by rubbing up against Milton’s Areopagita, or joining in a seminar discussion of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, leaders would be born who would create, leaven, and sustain a good society.  Somehow the idea has held steady for decades that an almost sacred encounter with great literature between the ages of 17 and 22 could transcend a hollow and malnourished family life, where little song was heard and none sung.

Yet the great books demand a supporting culture—both before and after and throughout.

Would we place our trust in a man who was well-versed in Nichomachus’s Introduction to Arithmetic or Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, but who could not complete a line of nursery rhyme, who had never slept under the stars with Jim Hawkins, never wanted to rescue the likes of Princess Flavia, never shrunk in horror at the witches of Macbeth, never wept at the death of a bull dog named Jack or sorrowed over the sins of Kristen Lavransdatter?  The one thing a liberal arts or great books education will not do is create a moral imagination where there is none.  Yet somehow many educators believe that reading advanced works and chatting about them will lead to a good society.  It may lead to a well-read society, but that need not be a good one or a happy one.

Fahey goes on to quote John Senior’s article, “The Thousand Good Books:”

The “Great Books” movement of the last generation has not failed so much as fizzled, not because of any defect in the books—“the best that has been thought and said,” in Matthew Arnold’s phrase—but like good champagne in plastic bottles they went flat.  To change the figure, the seeds are good but the cultural soil has been depleted; the seminal ideas of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, only properly grow in an imaginative ground saturated with fables, fairy tales, stories, rhymes, adventures, which have developed into the thousand books of Grimm, Andersen, Stevenson, Dickens, Scott, Dumas and the rest. Western tradition, taking all that was best of the Greco-Roman world into herself has given us the thousand good books as a preparation for the great ones and for all the studies in the arts and sciences, without which such studies are inhumane.

Read the rest here, including a list of recommended good books for different ages to read.

(The list looks interesting and makes me feel not nearly well-read enough!)

Why Mother’s Matter… or do they?

 

After reading Vox’s Why Mother’s Matter and the ensuing comments, I’m left feeling not particularly hopeful about the state of affairs between the sexes.  It was the comments not Vox’s post that I found troubling.  A few women dared to post and were pretty much told to shut up, accused of “bitching” and trying to “shame” men (though there were some positive responses).  I thought the women’s responses, mostly agreeing with Vox but just adding their perspective, were reasonable.  In a nutshell: if you expect women to change, to return to more traditional ways and submit to men, you men had better change too.

Vox affirms the importance of mothers, especially full-time mothers, in raising the next generation and being instrumental in fighting the culture war,  but many of the responses were apparently from angry, bitter men who hate women.  Men claim to be the rational, unemotional ones, but often come across as big crybabies and respond quite irrationally (and even emotionally, though it looks different from women’s emotion — newsflash: anger is an emotion too). They claim women are the needy ones, but whine about their needs and how they can’t get what they want out of life.  They feel justified in outlining what women are doing wrong and should change, but get all bent of of shape if a (gasp!) woman notes some ways men should change.  If you want to offer constructive criticism to the opposite sex, fine, but you better be able to take it too.

Our current cultural state, feminism, etc. has ruined things for BOTH sexes.  If you want to restore Western Civilization, stop making the opposite sex your enemy — that’s just playing into the feminist tactic to divide and conquer. Stop crying victim and refusing to recognize that women too are victims in this.  And if you’re a man who says this isn’t true and that men have been the worse victims and that a woman can’t possibly understand what’s it like to be a man in this world today, well, maybe, but what makes you think you have a clue about what it’s like to be a woman now?  There’s a reason men are sterotypically seen as clueless about women.

I’ve recently been thinking about humility and how lack of it contributes to many of the problems in our society and specifically, how it affects women.  Lack of humility leads to women resisting being put in a “lower” position to men and the idea of submitting to or serving a man in any way.  Hierarchy is seen as evil.  Part of this is feminist indoctrination of course, that even the most conservatively raised woman has picked up from the surrounding culture to some extent.  But it also stems from the desire to be special or important (and who doesn’t want to feel this way at least sometimes?).  Everyone seems to want to be a leader, an achiever, to accomplish great things.  No one wants to serve or admit that they’re not as good as someone else.  No one just wants to wash the dishes and change diapers — things that on the surface accomplish nothing of lasting value and have to be done over and over again — and never hear a word of affirmation.

Being told that one is only fit for lowly things isn’t exactly a charming proposition.  Men who reject feminist women and want a meek, little wife, but complain about women as stupid bitches who must be put in their place are idiots.  Who would want to sign up for a life full of drudgery, be considered unimportant, and get to be, not a life-partner or equal companion, but little more than a dumb slave?  You want women to return to traditional ways?  You better make it sound more attractive than the fantasy of power and success held out by feminists.

There has to be a benefit for women to giving up their freedom and independence, and let’s be honest, a woman today is taking as big risk on today’s men as a man is taking on today’s women (statistics aside about women initiating more divorces – they might be the instigator but they’ve just ruined their own lives too).  Pretty much everyone is damaged goods in some way and no one wants to get hurt.  If today’s women have been trained to be over-critical of men and have too-high, unrealistic expectations of men and marriage, today’s men aren’t exactly the most attractive, paragons of virtue either, not exactly the kind of strong men who would inspire life-long devotion and submission.

If you men want to be served and submitted to, you have to offer something in return, and yes that includes fidelity, security, and at least a little affection.  Sensible women will settle for less than perfection (a lot less); they’ll give up ideas of romance or having a soul mate or even a good friend in their spouse — and considering the lies woman have been led to believe, think what a hard pill that is to swallow.  Even for women who aren’t so sensible, is it really all their fault that they’ve been fed a pack of lies all their lives?  There are plenty of women who “wake up” and realize this.  I’d say a little humility on all sides could help, starting with not demonizing the other.

Having the sexes at each other’s throats isn’t the way to ensure the survival of Western Civilization.  Vox is on the right track to recognize the importance of mothers and give them a little credit for the hard work they do.  Some of his commenters however have got it all wrong.  The relationship between the sexes is so messed up I don’t know how to fix it —  but I’m only woman after all, what would I know?

The Collapse of Parenting

If you start to think your own kids are terribly bratty and poorly behaved (which all kids are at times) and that you’re doing a terrible job as a parent (which all good parents sometimes think), just look at examples of how much of society at large is doing things and you’ll feel much better (unless, of course, this IS how you’re parenting and then, well, you’re in trouble).

An example from an interview with Dr. Leonard Sax :

The Associated Press: What exactly do you mean by a collapse of parenting?

Sax: I wrote about an office visit with a 10-year-old boy who is sitting and playing a game on his mobile phone, ignoring me and his mom as I’m talking with his mom about his stomachache. And his mom is describing his stomachache and the boy says, ‘Shut up, mom, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ And he laughs.

That would have been very unusual in 1990 or 2000. It is now common: children, girls and boys, being disrespectful to parents, being disrespectful to one another, being disrespectful to themselves, verbally and otherwise. The mother did nothing, just looked a little embarrassed. The culture has changed in a profound way in a short period of time in ways that have really harmed kids.

It’s much worse today of course, but I’d say that this sort of thing was getting under way even in the 90s.  I certainly saw examples of this kind of disrespect even back then.

Dr. Sax isn’t the first to conclude that today’s parenting styles/techniques are really harming kids and not helping them grow up to be happy or successful (by any measure). Here’s some of what he thinks parent’s should be doing instead:

AP: What types of things can parents do to help a child or teen become a fulfilled adult?

Sax: The first thing is to teach humility, which is now the most un-American of virtues. When I meet with kids I ask them what they think it is and they literally have no idea. I’ve done that from third grade through 12th grade. The high school kids are more clueless than the third-graders.

They have been indoctrinated in their own awesomeness with no understanding of how this culture of bloated self-esteem leads to resentment. I see it. I see the girl who was told how amazing she was who is now resentful at age 25 because she’s working in a cubicle for a low wage and she’s written two novels and she can’t get an agent.

The second thing is to enjoy the time with your child. Don’t multitask. Get outdoors with your child.

The last thing: Teach the meaning of life. It cannot be just about getting a good job. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about who you are as a human being. You must have an answer.

That first line about humility is spot on.  And it really could be said to be true of virtue in general.  No one cares to teach virtues.  It’s all about me, me, me instead.  It’s not new knowledge that leading a fully self-centered life isn’t going to lead to true or lasting happiness or fulfillment.  How sad that everyone seems to have forgotten that.

Dr. Sax’s recent book looks interesting:

This book cover image released by Basic Books shows, "The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups," by Leonard Sax. Sax, a family physician and psychologist, argues that American families are facing a crisis of authority, where the kids are in charge, out of shape emotionally and physically and suffering because of it. He calls for a reordering of family life in response.