The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Maybe it's all about kids
Tom Smith

Maybe there are two Americas: one likes kids, the other doesn't. Maybe it's just that simple.

Check out the "noses wrinkled in disgust" in this Instapundit link. You can see the little Palin giving her baby brother a kitty lick to fix his hair. Is that cute enuff for ya? But apparently, NY Times reporters reacted with a collective ick, according to another Times reporter, no less. Yes, they are from a different planet.

I'm not sure how this came about or what to do about it, but I believe it may be true. Some people like kids. I do, for example, especially my own. They are cute, for several years of their life span they think you are some sort of hero, and after the phase passes they can at least be disciplined into remaining silent about the fact. When small you can snuggle with them, and they make the perfect companions for watching TV with. It is true they can be noisy and smelly, and they are quite astonishingly expensive. Still, all and all, most kid lovers, such as myself, would be quite happy to see the NY Times, the Met, all decent NYC restaurants and the entire fashion industry fall into a wormhole rather than give up one of the good hours with one of our kids. We are cool with kids, and we don't care that much about all the big city stuff.

On the other side are people who don't like kids. Don't ask me why. They like blackberries and sometimes little rat dogs. The noise and smell associated with kids disgust them. Some of them probably have meticulously organized closets. They probably worry about relationships. I don't have any relationships. I'm married and I have a few friends, and my kids of course. And careers. I suppose careers must fill up a lot of the space left by not liking kids.

I don't know. This is a gap so wide I can't even see across it. I can't even imagine what it would be like to think a little girl taking care of her baby brother is not cute. I honestly don't know who these people are.

But I'll tell you one thing. I don't want them running our country.

http://rightcoast.typepad.com/rightcoast/2008/09/maybe-its-all-a.html

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Comments

We do not stop to think that raising children changes parents just as much as it forms children. No longer do we have the same attitudes, the same approaches, or sometimes the same opinions as when we started. Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement. And we are not ever again the most important people in the universe, not do we wish to be.
The culture without children is forever immature, self-obsessed and rightous. They cannot help the high opinion they have of themselves; there's no kids around to show them otherwise.

Posted by: james wilson | Sep 8, 2008 8:58:45 PM

"The culture without children is forever immature, self-obsessed and rightous. They cannot help the high opinion they have of themselves; there's no kids around to show them otherwise."

Quoted for truth.

Posted by: celebrim | Sep 9, 2008 6:09:21 AM

Amen. Happy to have the non-kid people around. Just don't give them any sharp objects.

Posted by: robert | Sep 9, 2008 6:19:06 AM

"Amen. Happy to have the non-kid people around. Just don't give them any sharp objects.

Posted by: robert | September 09, 2008 at 06:19 AM "

Or authority, please. Oh, and a good measure of adult supervision while we're at it.

Posted by: John Steele | Sep 9, 2008 6:23:37 AM

"The culture without children is forever immature, self-obsessed and rightous. They cannot help the high opinion they have of themselves; there's no kids around to show them otherwise."

True, and they're also doomed to extinction.

Children are loud, messy, smelly, noisy, and a blessing beyond measure.

Posted by: Larry J | Sep 9, 2008 6:25:12 AM

Yoou may be on to something here. Complex situations often have fundamentally simple causes. Maybe the extremely wacky left is extremely wacky simply because there are no kids to drag them back to reality, nothing more important then themselves to ponder.

Posted by: John Steele | Sep 9, 2008 6:25:24 AM

A lot of times, people who don't like kids have something traumatic in their background. We should feel sorry for those poor people who've been deprived of normal human appreciation for kids.

OTOH, maybe they're just grumps. :)

Posted by: Maureen | Sep 9, 2008 6:28:51 AM

Are they still cute even if they cause you to have to buy Mayonaisse in large jars at the Costco?

Posted by: Walsingham | Sep 9, 2008 6:30:08 AM

James, I think their "noses wrinkled in disgust" not because they necessarily hate kids, but because they recognized an adorable moment that might become iconic if given the proper press. Kind of like John Jr. under JFK's desk in the oval office.

The problem was that the cute moment would benefit Republicans, not Democrats. I can imagine the NYT writers talking over drinks later that night about how the simple-minded rubes that ultimately decide elections would probably see Palin as a strong mother and not a ‘cheap, lying gender-traitor’ because of the distraction provided by the second-youngest of her litter.

If the public must have iconic moments for the right, let them be of schoolhouse stands in Alabama and in hypocritical homoerotic behavior at airports.

To oversimplify it, they view the left as the good guys. And only the good guys should get to place pictures of their fond moments on America's collective refrigerator. Like this one:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2007/08/17/us/politics/20070817_IOWA_SLIDESHOW_8.html


Posted by: Granddaddy Long Legs | Sep 9, 2008 6:30:14 AM

One more thing. You were mostly right when you wrote this:

"On the other side are people who don't like kids. Don't ask me why. They like blackberries and sometimes little rat dogs. The noise and smell associated with kids disgust them. Some of them probably have meticulously organized closets."

Evidence here:

http://granddaddylonglegs.blogspot.com/2008/02/new-york-times-plays-to-its-base_2734.html

Posted by: Granddaddy Long Legs | Sep 9, 2008 6:33:16 AM

One more thing. You were mostly right when you wrote this:

"On the other side are people who don't like kids. Don't ask me why. They like blackberries and sometimes little rat dogs. The noise and smell associated with kids disgust them. Some of them probably have meticulously organized closets."

Evidence here:

http://granddaddylonglegs.blogspot.com/2008/02/new-york-times-plays-to-its-base_2734.html

Posted by: Granddaddy Long Legs | Sep 9, 2008 6:33:55 AM

Personally, I do not like children. I did not like children when I was a child and I see no reason to change my mind now. But I don't like children for me. I freely admit that I am too selfish to be a good parent. But even though I personally do not like children, I still think that they are a blessing and a wonderful thing. I have such respect for any parent, mother or father, who is slogging through the day and trying to work and raise their kids and be a decent person. They're better people than I will ever be. So I would suggest that the difference isn't so much people who like kids and people who don't as it is between people who think children are a good and people who think children are an annoyance and a necessary evil.

Piper fixing her brother's hair is wonderfully precious. That's love, pure and simple. I cannot imagine anyone wrinkling their nose in disgust at that.

Posted by: alexthechick | Sep 9, 2008 6:37:08 AM

In my experience I believe it's pretty simple. Lots of people despise children because seeing them (especially the small, vulnerable ones) reminds them of what it was like to be a child. And either their memories are largely bad ones or they choose to focus on unhappy memories. Easier to project hatred onto kids than deal with the pain of confronting unresolved vulnerability.

I just returned from a month in Turkey visiting my wife's extended family. We go there every year. Each time I marvel at how public expressions of fondness and indulgence of children is the rule in that culture. Turkey is often a harsh country in places and a lot of it is very poor. Whether in the toniest neighborhood of Istanbul or the poorest village on the steppes of Anatolia, however, I never fail to see people treating children with great affection and being very patient with them. Doesn't matter whether people are young or old, childless or with large families.

When I return to the US I feel revulsion in places such as New York and Washington. Grew up in the Midwest... must say that to this day I don't find people there hostile toward kids there. It's a coastal thing.

Posted by: Bill | Sep 9, 2008 6:38:36 AM

I think it's just natural selection at work. Those whose genetic line is no longer of value to the species are compelled to refrain from reproducing. :)

Posted by: Sam | Sep 9, 2008 6:46:32 AM

Very true. The divide in America is not really between Red and Blue, Conservative and Liberal, Religious and Secular, Rich and Poor, etc. All of those labels are a cover for the divide between those Married with Kids and Those who are Single (because they are young or gay or elderly or don't like kids, etc.). If you simply look at the polls for issues like National Security, Taxes, the Economy, Schools, Healthcare, etc., the greatest divide is between these two groups.

But, it doesn't stop there. Those who are single are waging a war against families with kids. They think of kids as taking up too many resources. You should not receive a tax break for children, you should be taxed higher for having children. There should be limits on the number of children. Big houses and big cars that are needed for families are a horror compared to living in a studio apartment and taking the train. Etc. Etc.

Posted by: Dada | Sep 9, 2008 6:47:38 AM

Perhaps the only time I felt any actual sympathy for Goria Steinem was when she wrote about why she didn't think she'd missed anything not having children. She had to take care of her invalid mother for an extended period and she saw no difference between that--and apparently her mother didn't suffer her ailments in silence--and being a mother.

Posted by: Alex Bensky | Sep 9, 2008 6:52:11 AM

I don't like kids, but I like Sarah Palin. But then I have sometimes been told that I am "sui generis."

Posted by: Bilwick | Sep 9, 2008 6:56:10 AM

"let them be of schoolhouse stands in Alabama"

Said schoolhouse stand, of course, was made by a Democrat. But that's a fact that the media is working overtime to fudge so that in the future perhaps no one will know or remember.

Posted by: kcom | Sep 9, 2008 7:02:27 AM

I'm as red as a redstater can be and I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would possibly want to have kids. Noisy, expensive, demanding, ingrateful. What is the upside? And who wants to die in a harness? Now don't get me wrong--I'm glad not everyone thinks like I do on this issue because I kinda like the idea of the human race carrying on and I really like the idea of conservatives out-reproducing liberals. But for the life of me I just can't understand why someone would want to have a child. Just don't get it. People say "if you had one you'd understand--you would love it." Yes, and I might like heroin if I tried that. Still doesn't seem like a very smart thing to do though.....

Posted by: Andronicus | Sep 9, 2008 7:05:01 AM

Maybe there are two other Americas.

One kills kids in utero. The other doesn't. Maybe that's all there is to it.

Posted by: justacommenter | Sep 9, 2008 7:11:18 AM

Dunno; some of the most liberal people I know have kids and are good parents (as in, the kids are clearly happy and well-behaved). Many others, of course, have no kids and no use for kids. And others have kids but they're not very good parents. There's a lot of variation there.

I've observed, though, that some liberals with kids, the ones who really are good parents and honestly put their kids' needs before their own desires, tend to have startlingly retrograde notions about gender roles in their own relationships. In general, people with successful and healthy relationships are the ones who are willing to "make an exception" when their ideology tells them to do the wrong thing. If you're a New Testament-oriented Christian, that's supposed to be easy: Your ideology tells you to love your brother and not cast the first stone. For liberals, whose ideology tells them to cast every stone they can grab and love some brothers more equally than others, it's harder. Give 'em credit when they get it right.

Others, of course, regard their children as little social experiments. To be fair, though, there's all kinds of bad parents out there.

I think the reaction to Piper slicking the baby's hair down isn't hatred of kids; it's hatred of people from flyover country. If one of Obama's daughters did that for the other, the same reporters would've thought it was adorable. But if the kids are red staters, the kids, in the reporters' minds, become loathsome, semi-human objects. I've been counting outbursts from the left where Palin is depicted as, literally, an animal; three so far. But I haven't been looking very hard.

Some of these folks have cranked themselves up to a degree of blind gut hatred that looks like the Ku Klux Klan. It's nothing new for people who love their own children to regard "the other's" children as animals.

Posted by: Midget Launcher | Sep 9, 2008 7:26:58 AM

The no-kids crowd ought to be grateful for the with-kids crowd -- after all, who's going to be there in 20-30-40 years changing the
elderly no-kids' folks' diapers, wiping their chins, and ensuring their dosages are correct?

Posted by: furious_a | Sep 9, 2008 7:29:11 AM

"Said schoolhouse stand, of course, was made by a Democrat."

You're right. I forgot that for a moment. So was Orval Faubus when he made his stand in Little Rock.

But like you suggested, the press has done their level best to convince the electorate that racism is inherent in the GOP (ironically, the party that arose from the abolitionist movement). If you relied only on the New York Times and Dan Rather for all your news, you'd believe that within every piece of Republican legislation is a racist ulterior motive, behind every call for party unity is an appeal to "white power," and every criticism of a Democrat is filled to the nasty brim with racial codewords.

It would be funny if so many people didn't believe such nonsense. Just stop by HuffPo, DU, or Daily Kos for a taste of the madness.

Posted by: Granddaddy Long Legs | Sep 9, 2008 7:33:30 AM

One of the unfortunate truths about kids is that you generally like yours better and find things they do cute while being pushed very close to the edge by similar behavior in others.

And in this case those "others" are nothing more than the other party

Posted by: BillB | Sep 9, 2008 7:38:57 AM

Midgetlauncher---do you really think your kids are going to be changing your diapers as opposed to storing you in a nursing home as soon as possible and waiting for you to die so they can get their hands on whatever is left of your money? Based on what I've seen in my 43 years, the diaper-changing kids scenario seems a bit less likely....

Posted by: Andronicus | Sep 9, 2008 7:47:34 AM