July 24, 2008

A new rant: Forget Progress

Tme for a new rant. This has been bubbling up for too long and I need to let some of it out, here. So, away we go.

I reject “progress” and I reject “progressive thought” and, while I am at it, I reject “change”.

I choose old, tired, shopworn, out of fashion, boring, conservative, modes of thought and behavior.

I am not persuaded that progress in social thought or behavior has brought enough good with the bad.

I reject the notions:

*that sexual promiscuity is without consequence, either physical or emotional;

*that tattoos are acceptable on anyone not a veteran;

*that television should be my guide in choosing my own personal behavior;

*that music that calls woman bitches is socially redeeming and valuable protest music;

*that we should not be permitted to make value judgments;

*that the Left is correct in failing to protest the position of gays or women in the Islamic world;

*that no one on the Left appears to seriously recognize the significant cognitive dissonance in wearing t-shirts like, “Gays for Palestine”;

*that children’s literature should be filled with teaching moments to glorify and reinforce diversity;

*that some abstract notion of statistically tracked racial diversity is valuable while diversity of opinion is not important;

*that “Unity” (yes, Sen. Obama, I’m talking to you) is ipso facto valuable and not, in fact, a fascist concept designed to stifle debate and freedom of expression;

*that someone’s “hurt feelings” is more important than my right to freedom of speech and, maybe more importantly, freedom AFTER speech;

*that parents abdicate their responsibilities to give their children moral guidance and instead transfer that responsibility to a school where such things are decided by a committee and implemented by books designed to meet the California market;

*that self-esteem is built by endless and meaningless praise, instead of struggle and accomplishment;

*that some banks are too big to fail (I just hope mine is not among them);

*that it is never appropriate to use your fists to settle an argument;

*that a nuclear Iran is a neutral force on the world stage (please, how can anyone seriously believe this?); and, finally (for now),

*I reject the notion that the United States is not the single greatest force for good among world actors today.

So, if you disagree, leave me alone in my quiet corner where my children don’t watch television, are not permitted near a computer, and have to read or go outside and run around to play elaborate made up games. I promise you that my kids will be ready to help pick up the pieces after you mess up our society.

Posted by Random Penseur at July 24, 2008 10:52 AM | TrackBack

I agree with most of what you say RP, of course you know we disagree on various points.

What really pisses me off is stuff like this - Senators approve anti-spanking bill. AND they wonder why some kids have no concept of consequences for their actions?

Posted by: Oorgo at July 24, 2008 01:50 PM

"*that sexual promiscuity is without consequence, either physical or emotional;"
- Hear, hear!

Nice to hear this, RP - even if we don't agree, I like seeing someone disagreeing.

Posted by: Hannah at July 24, 2008 03:28 PM

Wow. For the first time reading this blog I feel a bit insulted by that last comment.

We're a huge TV and computer family. I don't think we're messing up society. In fact, I'd say my son has had more gains than most autistic children because we are attentive parents and find ways to teach him in a way his brain understands. My children love the outdoors and spend a lot of time there because it's their choice. We're huge advocates of choice.

Being a grad student working toward being a behavior analyst, I'd have to say that behavior is a series of choices. Occasionally, it's good to make bad choices to appreciate the consequences and understand how good it feels to make good choices. Sometimes good and bad choices are disguised. For example, my mother is the type of person that picks up after everyone's else mess. My mother is a doormat who makes perceived good choices that are not hers to make. She takes responsibility for other people when those people are perfectly able to be responsible with their own choices.

I think the word here that is rather ambiguous is "mess." Some rights we have in this country are already viewed as a mess by others (abortion).

If you're really looking for diversity, I would suggest enrolling your children in a school that has full inclusion with kids with disabilities. That is one to one ratio of typically developing kids with kids with disabilities (ADHD, Autism, Down's Syndrome, Rett's syndrome). Those are the invaluable teachable moments for children to understand how diverse this world really is. Academically, those programs are usually more stringent and they include a very high ration of teachers to students. They are ideal educational opportunities. Ideal and what 90% of parents will never do because they think their children (who they laud as being very moral characters from parental teaching) will pick up the bad behavior of other children or will not relate to them.

This really frustrates me. Children are so innocent and would miraculously help their peers without the misguidance of their parents. It's parental fear that keeps diversity at bay.

It's so much fun to try to get my child included in everything and have parents try to get their kids as far away from him as possible.

Yeah, big mess I'd say. Let's see what your kids can do about that.

Posted by: Linda at July 24, 2008 06:37 PM

Well, that was probably the longest response I have seen to a post, Linda. I'm sorry if you took offense. None was intended to go your way. The mess I was thinking about was the poor attention span, the obesity, the diabetes, and the other problems associated with excessive tv and computer use -- not to mention stunted imagination. That's the mess I hope kids can help clean up. As for the use of television as a therapeutic aid for autistic children, I simply lack any background at all and cannot evaluate, much less comment, on your use of it. I am sure, only, that your child is lucky to have such a caring mother.

Posted by: rp at July 24, 2008 08:42 PM

I would be more inclined to believe that the US is the single greatest force for good among world actors today if it weren't for the fact that our current administration seems hell-bent on full-scale destruction of the core concepts embodied in that marvelous, timeless, brilliant Constitution of ours. Our founders were, apparently quite rightly, deeply suspicious of allowing a powerful executive figure to control the country's functioning. What do we have now? Dick Cheney refusing to reveal the minutes of meetings he held supposedly in the interests of all American people. Karl Rove manipulating the response to Hurricane Katrina in hopes of damaging a Democratic stronghold. Waterboarding. The very existence of Gitmo and the suspension of habeas corpus, which should be morally repugnant to any and everyone who believes in the American - no, universal - ideals of rule of law. A Potemkin village of a war in Iraq that hasn't done one damn thing for us as an American people other than fill our news with despair and our military cemeteries with young people. A President who thought the proper response to 9/11 was to tell us to go SHOPPING. Yeah. We may have been the single greatest force at one time, but we seem to have abdicated that position willingly and with great force.

Posted by: Caroline at July 25, 2008 08:02 AM

I'm really sorry. I'm a little sensitive lately because of dealing with a society that would rather see my kid put away when he has better skills than most of their children, and certainly higher academic skills.

Anyway, I understand your frustration with those issues. But, a few of those things on your list have more to do with genetics than actual choice, believe it or not. And, more studies confirm that every day. Apparently, people with the skinny genes don't like to breed as much as us fat people. Education to making healthy choices is key. But, you can lead a horse to water...

Oh, and stunted imagination for autistic children is very much neurological. You may be witnessing mainstreamed children that you don't even know are autistic. If that is true, I can only hope you give them the benefit of the doubt before blaming parents, like Michael Savage. Yes, the school districts aren't going to tell all the parents who the autistic kids are. But, if they're in a regular school, God bless America...you have a damn good school district!

Posted by: Linda at July 25, 2008 09:18 AM

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