Sunday, July 30, 2006

MAD SCIENTIST. The recent discussion of parenting at The Corner reaches a watershed of hilarity in remarks by that great man of science, Charles Murray:
There is an interesting question in all this: Does Dad actually have to be alive to accomplish all this? There's an interesting study to be done of the sons of dads killed in war, or absent for some other honorable reason. Is it enough for Mom to be able to say "Your father would be very proud of you" or "Your father would be very disappointed in you"? I prefer to think no; that we're more useful alive and present. But it would still be an interesting study...
I love that "honorable reason" and can imagine Murray's reseachers assigning honor values to various paternal absences. Maybe if Paw went to jail for bombing an abortion clinic, the lad will get a "well-raised in absentia" rating. But what if Father just had a heart attack? No doubt inquiries will have to be made to establish that it was an honorable heart attack -- such as one induced by long consumption of American fatty foods.
As to Derb's question: can the right-hand tail of the distribution, the super-involved parents, who get just the right mobile to hang over the baby's crib, schedule every enhancing intellectual and physical activity, etc. etc., make things worse? I have no data, but I cringe every time I watch such parents at work. If I had to assign my children to be adopted, I'd prefer any ordinarily loving blue-collar couple with no college education and low income over a pair of Super Parents.
A touching sop to the working class! The youngster will learn the value of hard work in our society by watching his folks make a quart of milk last seven days. At least he will be spared excess fussing over his mobiles. There's a son or daughter Charles Murray can be proud of -- in absentia, and honorably.

Why do I get the feeling that all these lunatics were raised in Skinner boxes?

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