Peaceful Parenting Part 26

Discussion on parental excuses impact parenting behaviors. Advocates empathy, conflict resolution, prioritizing children over punishment. Encourages rethinking norms for peaceful parenting.

2024, Stefan Molyneux
Peaceful Parenting

Brief Summary
In this enlightening discussion, we explored the intricate world of parental excuses and their impact on parenting behaviors. The speaker categorized common justifications for parental aggression towards children and highlighted the historical context often used to rationalize such actions. Emphasizing the complexity of parent-child relationships, the conversation scrutinized moral standards applied to parents and children, challenging inconsistencies and advocating for improved conflict resolution skills over punitive measures. The episode also delved into the effects of different parenting styles on discipline and children's well-being, stressing the importance of prioritizing children's needs and fostering mutual understanding and empathy in parent-child interactions. Ultimately, the lecture encouraged listeners to reconsider traditional parenting norms, promote compassionate familial relationships, and embrace peaceful parenting practices for the betterment of all involved.

0:00 Parental Excuses
0:27 Reasonable Parental Excuses
1:36 The Pattern of Parental Excuses
1:58 Different Moral Standards for Adults and Children
2:38 Parents' Responsibilities vs. Children's Chores
4:17 Absolutes in Parenting Situations
4:53 Examples of Parental Excuses
10:26 Moving Forward Excuse
12:09 Threatening with Parental Authority
12:59 Parents' Lack of Curiosity About Children's Problems
14:00 Parenting Jokes and Excuses
14:25 Excuse of "Just Joking"
15:43 Parents' Double Standards in Communication
18:01 Parents' Rules in Comparison to Hotel Rules
18:24 Hypocrisy in Parental Behavior
21:25 Incremental Improvements vs. Principles
24:40 Parental Claim of "Hurts Me More"
25:49 Misinterpretation of Biblical Texts
29:03 Comparison Excuses in Parenting
29:56 Excuse of "You'll Understand When You're a Parent"
30:46 Sibling Conflicts Excuse
34:08 Excuse of "That's How I Was Raised"
36:16 Excuse of "They Turned Out Fine"
38:07 Imaginary Disaster Scenarios Excuse
39:34 No Excuse for Children, No Excuse for Parents
42:22 Free Will vs. Environmental Determinism in Parenting
44:06 Challenges of Being a Peaceful Parent
1:06:00 The Shadows Cast by Your Actions
1:19:21 Transparent and Pathetic Manipulation
1:28:19 The Promise of Imaginary Future Benefits

Long Summary
In this thought-provoking podcast episode, we delved deep into the topic of parental excuses and their implications on parenting practices. The discussion revolved around the various justifications parents use for their aggressive behavior towards their children, categorizing them into three main groups. The speaker emphasized the historical context often used by parents to rationalize their actions rather than universal moral principles, shedding light on the complexities of parent-child relationships.

The episode scrutinized the moral standards applied to parents and children, stressing that while parents have greater responsibilities, children also have their set of tasks. By dissecting popular parental excuses like downplaying the severity of their actions or using humor to mask serious matters, the speaker highlighted the inconsistencies and double standards in parental reasoning. The episode challenged the idea of incremental improvements in parenting justifying strict moral standards imposed on children, questioning the moral consistency in parenting practices.

Furthermore, the conversation addressed the use of religion to justify parenting methods, even when they conflict with modern values and ethical standards. The impact of different parenting styles on conflict resolution, discipline, and children's well-being was thoroughly explored. The host advocated for teaching children productive conflict resolution skills instead of resorting to punishment, and questioned the effectiveness of spanking as a disciplinary tool.

The discussion also delved into the significance of parents prioritizing children's needs over personal desires, emphasizing the profound impact of parental choices on children's emotional and psychological health. The importance of mutual understanding, communication, and empathy in parent-child relationships was underscored, challenging traditional beliefs about respect and obedience stemming solely from compliance.

In a powerful and introspective lecture on parental love, the profound impact of parental bonds on children's emotional development was explored. The speaker navigated through poignant scenarios highlighting the emotional consequences of parental neglect and the importance of parental love in shaping a child's sense of self-worth. Analogies and introspective reflections were used to challenge traditional parenting norms, urging listeners to reconsider their approach to nurturing environments for children.

Through philosophical insights and moral principles, the lecture emphasized holding individuals accountable for their actions regardless of their familial roles and advocated for compassionate and empathetic familial relationships. The discourse concluded by encouraging listeners to adopt peaceful parenting practices and foster harmonious family dynamics, promoting empathy, connection, and healing in the realm of parental relationships.

Parental Excuses
[0:00]Peaceful Parenting by Stéphane Molyneux. Part 26. Parental Excuses. Excuses for aggressive parenting are fascinating. They tend to fall into three categories. One, it wasn't that bad. Two, I had understandable reasons. Three, I'm proud of my parenting.
Reasonable Parental Excuses
[0:28]Parental excuses can be potentially reasonable if the same standards were applicable to the child in the past. For instance, if a child was easily forgiven for failing to study for a test, then parents can later claim as a defense the general principle that people should not be punished for failing to prepare for a test. If the child was never punished for using violence, then the parents can claim that they should also be excused for using violence. If the child was never punished for failing to do chores, then the parents can potentially never be criticized for mess, chaos, financial hardships, inadequate food, and so on. If the child was never criticized or punished for failing to do his work, then the parents can, at least to some degree, claim consistency in principle for excusing their own failures to do their work.
The Pattern of Parental Excuses
[1:36]If the child was never punished for talking back, then parents can claim that they should not be thought of negatively for being argumentative with their adult children.
[1:49]Do you see this pattern? In general, the argument against this universalization is this.
Different Moral Standards for Adults and Children
[1:58]You cannot hold parents to the same moral standards to which you hold children because the parents are adults with fully formed brains, while children are still developing and so cannot be held to the same standards. Saying that adults and children should have the same moral standards is like saying that both adults and children should be able to drive or sign contracts or serve in the military or get tattoos. We have different standards for adults and children for very good reasons. Okay, I accept that.
[2:30]So, let's look at these different standards. What makes them different?
Parents' Responsibilities vs. Children's Chores
[2:39]Parents work. Children have chores. These are not opposite standards. Parents do more work than children, but children still work. A mother might do four hours of chores a day. A child might be responsible for 15 to 30 minutes of chores. A father might spend two hours mowing the backyard. A child might be responsible for half an hour of pulling weeds or raking the cut grass. Do you see? This is all a difference of degree, not of kind. A child who goes running with her father will probably not be able to run as far or as fast, but they're both still running. A boy who wants to help his mother wrap presents will not wrap as efficiently or neatly, but But they're both still fundamentally doing the same thing, just to differing degrees.
[3:46]Parents have to plan for upcoming events and requirements, and children have to plan for tests and essays. When you teach your child words, her vocabulary is less than yours, but you're both still speaking a language. You see, children have the same responsibilities as parents, just fewer of them, and to a lesser degree. It's not opposite.
Absolutes in Parenting Situations
[4:18]Of course, there are some parenting situations where absolutes are involved. Parents may drive a car while children absolutely cannot. But this is not an opposite rule. Parents have a responsibility to keep their children safe and children cannot drive safely. A parent who does not know how to drive is also not allowed to drive a car. These are not opposite rules for adults and children. Any parental excuses that involve opposite morals are fundamentally immoral.
Examples of Parental Excuses
[4:54]Some examples.
[4:58]It wasn't that bad. Sally was beaten as a child. As an adult, she confronts her father, Dave. Dave tells Sally that her memory is faulty, that it wasn't that bad and slash or didn't happen that often. So, what is the principle here? The principle is that it is perfectly valid for one person to tell another person that her memory is faulty and thus she is wrong in her recollection. Okay, let us universalize that. Can Sally tell her father that his memory is faulty and thus that he is wrong in his recollection? Of course not. That would be disrespectful.
[5:52]So, it really is a one-way street. Dave can tell Sally that her memory is faulty. Sally can never tell Dave that his memory is faulty. Of course, Dave will tell Sally that her memory is inaccurate because she was a child and her brain was still forming. Very well. If that is the case, then why was Sally beaten? Well, Dave will tell Sally that she was beaten, he will say spanked or disciplined, of course, because she didn't listen or was disrespectful or forgot something or was defiant, or broke something, or something like that. Very well. If a child is hard of hearing, is it fair for her parents to punish her for not listening? Of course not. We don't punish deficiencies.
[6:59]Dave punished Sally as a child because she was perfectly capable of understanding and following abstract moral rules. She could be good, but she failed to be good. So she was punished. In other words, her brain was not deficient in its capacity to understand, process, and follow abstract moral rules. However, now, suddenly, as an adult, her brain is so deficient that she can't accurately recall important traumatic events from her youth. However, now, suddenly, as an adult, her brain was so deficient that she can't accurately recall important traumatic events from her youth.
[7:58]So, which is it? Was she punished because her brain was competent and she failed to do what was right? Or is her father excused because her brain was incompetent and therefore cannot remember what actually happened? Let us go further. If Sally's brain is so deficient that she cannot remember what happened in her childhood, then why was she punished during her childhood for failing to do the right thing? She was beaten so that she would remember to do the right thing. But now her father is telling her that her brain is so deficient that she cannot remember basic facts, let alone follow abstract moral principles.
[8:53]In the past, when she was a child, her father said, I'm going to beat you so that you remember to follow abstract moral principles. Later on, he says, your brain, even as an adult, is so incompetent that it deceives you about the basic facts of your life. But if Sally's adult brain is incompetent, then she should never have been beaten for deficiencies in her childhood brain which surely was even less competent. If Sally's childhood brain was competent enough to be punished then her memories of childhood should be accepted as factual. If children are beaten so that they remember to be good then the entire purpose of beating them is to ensure that they accurately remember being beaten. There's no point punishing a child if she forgets the punishment five minutes afterwards. Beating a child is designed to deeply impress the importance of following moral rules. If the child, later on, has no accurate memory of the beatings, then the beatings served no moral purpose, and so were mere abuse. Not moral instruction.
[10:20]If I could go back, I would do it better, but I can't. So let's just move forward.
Moving Forward Excuse
[10:26]This is another common excuse from parents. Very well. What is the principle here? Surely the principle is that no one should ever be criticized or punished because all misdeeds occurred in the past, and it is impossible to change the past, so it is better to forgive and forget. Was that principle applied to the child in the past? If the child did something, quote, wrong, was the child allowed to say, hey, if I could go back, I would do it better, but I can't, so let's just move forward? Surely the parents would have been outraged at such a statement. No, when the parents perceive that the child has done something wrong, the child is allowed no excuses and is soundly punished. But when the child grows up and criticizes the parents, ah, now all misdeeds are just lost to the past and should never be discussed or criticized. It was in the past is no excuse for the child, but apparently a perfectly reasonable excuse for adults.
[11:49]In other words, children who have far less ability to accurately process, cause and effect, are never allowed the excuse called, it was in the past. But full-grown adults can happily use this excuse to get out of any misdeeds. Vile.
Threatening with Parental Authority
[12:10]I brought you into this world, and I can take you out. Well, this is just a straight-up death threat. Can you imagine an adult child with an elderly parent in the hospital threatening to unplug the life support if the parent does not sign a will gifting everything to the child? That would be illegal.
[12:37]How was I supposed to know? Adult child, I had a really hard time in school socializing with my peers and got bullied. Dad, how was I supposed to know you were having a hard time if you didn't tell me? Ah, the parents who claim to have no knowledge of their children's problems.
Parents' Lack of Curiosity About Children's Problems
[12:59]What does this mean? If your father thought that you had stolen something from him, would he not sit you down for hours, cross-examining and grilling you in order to find out what he wanted to know? If you and your siblings were playing and broke a lamp, would your mother insistently demand to know who was responsible? Would she rest or let it go before she found out? Of course not. You see how this works? When your parents want to know something, thing, they will stop at nothing to get the information out of you. When you are suffering for years right under their noses, they apparently have no idea, no curiosity, no sense of any mood changes on your part, and you are fully responsible for their lack of knowledge.
Parenting Jokes and Excuses
[14:00]Wait until college to date you? Knew I was joking. Mom all my life. Wait until you get to college to start dating girls. Me. Why did you always tell me to wait to date until college? Mom. You knew I was just joking. Just joking is another cowardly excuse. It's the same excuse used by parents who insult you.
Excuse of "Just Joking"
[14:26]They call you names and you justly take offense. And then they claim that you have no sense of humor, that they were just joking, and that you take things far too seriously. Does this street go both ways? At extended family gatherings, can you call your parents selfish pigs and then just laugh off their outrage by saying that you were only joking and they should just learn to get some kind of a sense of humor? Of course not.
[15:00]You don't listen anyway. Mom, it doesn't matter that I gave you wrong information because you don't listen anyway. Again, is this a two-way street? If you give the wrong directions to your mother and she gets lost, can you tell her that it doesn't matter because she never listens anyway? It doesn't even make any logical sense. Why would you give any information to someone who never listens? That would be like lecturing someone in a language she does not understand.
[15:33]As long as you live under my roof, I make the rules. This is a truly tragic excuse, or rationale to be more precise.
Parents' Double Standards in Communication
[15:44]Children are born into a household. They do not choose it. They are owed resources within that household. That is the deal that parents make when they choose to have and keep children. Once people become parents, their resources no longer belong to them alone. Their resources are shared with their children. The children have direct property rights over parental resources, especially the home. If I find a stranger lurking in my living room, I can hurl him out of my house, even into a blizzard. No parent has the right to do that to her children. Children have a right to live in the house without paying a penny, without doing any chores. If you throw your five-year-old child out into a blizzard because he didn't do his chores, you will get thrown in prison. Because everyone understands that children have an absolute right to live in the home, which means that the home belongs to them even more than it does to their parents. Wait, why more? Because the children are not there by choice.
[17:02]If you lock a woman in your basement, she has the first right to food because she is not there by choice and has no other way to get food. Children do not live with their parents by choice and have no other way to obtain food and shelter. We would not view a parent as very noble if he stuffed his own face with food while leaving his children to starve. We all understand that in a situation where food is scarce, the children get fed first. The children have a greater right to food than their parents do. The children have a greater right to the home than their parents do. Also, when we stay at a hotel, we understand that the hotel owns the property and therefore makes the rules. But we also understand that the hotel makes rules that are designed to be pleasant and convenient for the guests.
Parents' Rules in Comparison to Hotel Rules
[18:01]The hotel manager doesn't barge into our suite at 2 o'clock in the morning saying that, hey, I own the hotel, so I make the rules. We hope that parents can provide at least as much care and affection to their children as a hotel manager can to his come-and-go guests.
Hypocrisy in Parental Behavior
[18:24]Do as I say, not as I do. If parents do not follow the moral rules they inflict on their children, then the parents are saying that children should be able to achieve an ethical consistency that the parents are utterly unwilling or unable to model. In other words, it should be infinitely easier for children to lift a weight that the parents cannot even get off the ground. This is morally insane. You had a better childhood than I did. Some parents like to use their abusive childhoods as a comparison to what they provided for their children. A mother would say she did better than her own mother by not abandoning her own kids, and she didn't physically assault them like her mom did her. However, when confronted about how verbally abusive she was, this mother says her children are just ungrateful for how much she sacrificed for them and that they are cold-hearted, selfish people.
[19:33]So, basically, her bad parenting was because her children were bad people. Parents who use the excuse called, you had a better childhood than I did, are manifesting a fundamental contradiction. In this view, parenting can only improve incrementally. Parents can be, say, 25% better than their own parents, but no more. Okay, so if parents with the full knowledge and maturity of adulthood can only do slightly better than their own parents, then clearly their children can only do slightly better than themselves.
[20:20]If the grandmother was only 25% good and the mother gets to 50%, then clearly the daughter can only get to 75% as an adult since the mother only got to 50% goodness as an adult. Given that the child can only achieve 75% goodness as an adult, the child should never be punished for any badness during childhood, because clearly the child will be bad at least one time out of four, 25%. So when the child is bad, they're just conforming to the imperfections fully accepted by the mother. But of course, that forgiveness doesn't happen. The mother endlessly excuses her own imperfections while punishing her child for any of the child's imperfections.
[21:11]The mother is doing the best she can, but would always punish her son for doing the best he can, thus inflicting infinitely higher moral standards on children, than she accepts herself as a parent.
Incremental Improvements vs. Principles
[21:26]Let's change the math up a bit. It doesn't matter. In this view, parents who have, say, say, 10% better childhoods than their own parents did, are only allowed to improve their own children's lives by about 10%. Let's refer to these as grandparents, parents, and children. The grandparents had childhoods that were 20% good. The parents have 30%, and therefore the children get 40%. And demanding any more than 40%, or complaining about the 60% bad that remains is unjust and immoral because the grandchildren are better off than the parents who in turn were better off than the grandparents. Incremental change is all that is allowed. Expecting more is being greedy and ungrateful. And that's fine in a way as long as it is honestly spoken of. You can enact incremental improvements all you want, as long as you never refer to any general principle.
[22:37]If your father was a compulsive liar, he lied about just about everything, then is lying wrong? If lying is not wrong, then you can just lie all you want and there's no problem, right? If lying is wrong, then the solution is not to lie less, but to commit to telling the truth as a moral standard on principle. However, the moment you punish your children for deviating from some moral principle, you no longer get to claim that incremental improvements are the best that can be hoped for.
[23:18]For instance, if your father lied 80% of the time and you only lie 60% of the time, then you can only reasonably expect your children to tell the truth 60% of the time because they are allowed to lie 40% of the time. If, however, you punish your children even once for lying, because lying is wrong and you shouldn't lie at all, then you have lost the entire moral right to defend your own improvements according to incrementalism. If lying is wrong, then you shouldn't lie. If incremental improvements in intergenerational lying is okay, then you shouldn't ever punish your children on principle, and you should fully accept and welcome the improvement of them telling the truth 60% of the time, since you only tell the truth 40% of the time, and your father lied 80% of the time.
[24:16]So, which is it? Incrementalism or principles? If it is incrementalism, then you cannot punish your children on principles. If it is principles, then you cannot claim to be virtuous based on incrementalism.
Parental Claim of "Hurts Me More"
[24:41]This hurts me more than it hurts you. This excuse, often trotted out for spanking, is utterly unverifiable. And even if it could be verified, the parent could be a masochist who enjoys being hurt and thus punishes the child in order to feel delightfully bad himself. Of course, we all know the pattern by now. How do we deal with this excuse? We know.
[25:33]Of course not. But children are never allowed to use these magic words to escape negative consequences, but parents always are.
Misinterpretation of Biblical Texts
[25:50]Christians and Proverbs 13.24, Christians often revert to the book of Proverbs 13.24, saying the Bible commands us to beat our kids. It doesn't. And then when confronted with studies that show spanking is bad, they say they trust the infallible word of God over easily corruptible man-made studies. This excuse is not specific to Christianity, but to religious fundamentalism in general. The Bible is full of commandments that, if practiced consistently, would land parents in jail, For example, 1. Stoning disobedient children. Deuteronomy 21.18-21 prescribes a punishment for a rebellious son. The elders of the city are to stone him to death. In today's society, this would be considered a horrific act of child abuse and murder.
[26:58]2. Selling a daughter. In Exodus 21, 7, there is a provision that allows a father to sell his daughter as a maidservant. Human trafficking and selling individuals is illegal and morally reprehensible in modern societies. 3. Marrying captives. Deuteronomy 21.10-14 gives instructions on how Israelite men can take women from conquered peoples as wives. By today's standards, this would be viewed as a serious violation of human rights, involving forced marriage and possible sexual assault. 4. Blood Vengeance The concept of an eye for an eye from Leviticus 24, 19-20 has been taken to justify personal revenge. Most modern legal systems prohibit vigilante justice and emphasize due process. 5. Forcing a woman to marry her rapist Deuteronomy 22, 28-29 says that if a man rapes an unmarried virgin, and he must pay her father 50 shekels of silver and then marry the girl. He cannot divorce her for the rest of his life. In modern society, this would be considered compounding the trauma of the victim and the rapist would face criminal charges.
[28:27]It is interesting how parents pick and choose from the Bible only those commandments that they want to follow, never those that are inconvenient, bizarre, immoral, or illegal. It is also interesting to see how parents do a lot of research on new phones, new computers, new houses and neighborhoods, but never look up the actual original text of biblical commandments about hitting children. It's an excuse, not a justification.
Comparison Excuses in Parenting
[29:04]Other kids have it a lot worse than you. All right. So if you criticize your parents as an adult and they complain, can you tell them that other parents have it a lot worse? I'm thinking of the parents of the Menendez brothers.
[29:25]You don't know how difficult it is. You'll understand when you become a parent. This is also interesting. These parents are saying that parenting is incredibly difficult, which must mean that they must have read a lot of books on how to parent, consulted experts, taken classes, you name it. I mean, I don't just climb into the cockpit of an airplane and start pushing buttons and yanking the joystick because it is very difficult to fly a plane, and I know that.
Excuse of "You'll Understand When You're a Parent"
[29:57]If I want to fly a plane, if they want to become parents, they need to take their training ahead of time. If I want to become a scuba diver, I need to take some training. I don't just get tangled in kelp, run out of air, and then claim, hey man, it's really difficult to be a scuba diver, you have no idea until you're actually doing it. If my father was a pilot and I watched him for 25 years having constant challenges flying planes I don't get to just crash a plane and only claim that I figured out that it was difficult after I was in the air No! I spent 25 years watching my father wrestle with flying so of course I know exactly how challenging it is So I'm all the more responsible for getting training training.
Sibling Conflicts Excuse
[30:47]You and your siblings fought all the time. You all drove us crazy. We didn't know what else to do. This is another fascinating excuse. Parents whose children fight all the time have been either unable or unwilling to teach their children productive ways to resolve conflicts. It does seem strange to me to punish children for lessons that the parents have failed to teach. If I never teach my child how to swim or ride a bike, is it fair and reasonable for me to punish my child for not having these skills? If your children are fighting all the time, what kind of example are you setting as a parent? If you and your spouse fight all the time, it's kind of hard to attack your children for fighting all the time because you are demanding that they exercise a skill Still, conflict, negotiation, and resolution, that you don't have the first clue how to perform.
[31:51]As far as we didn't know what else to do, well, that just fits into the general pattern. Were you allowed to shove your sister and then claim that you didn't know how else to handle conflict? Was that excuse accepted by your parents? If you wanted a candy bar at the store, but your mother would not buy it for you, were you allowed to steal it? And then claim that you didn't know how else to get a hold of the candy bar. Once a parent admits a deficiency of knowledge, then the parent is responsible for getting a hold of that knowledge. Saying that you didn't know how to handle your children is not an excuse. It condemns you even more, because even at the time you were aware that you lacked certain knowledge or skills, which means that you were 100% responsible for failing to learn whatever you needed to learn to do better.
[32:53]That's how I was raised. All right. These parents operate on the argument that it is impossible for them to upgrade their skills from when they themselves were children. Fair enough. Then clearly they have no idea how to use it. A tablet, a cell phone, a modern car, or any other pieces of technology or products that were invented after they were children. Oh, wait, what? they do know how to use a cell phone. But they didn't have cell phones when they were children. That's not how they were raised. Oh, I see. They can learn new things, despite how they were raised. Here's another question. Is the school curriculum exactly the same as it was when your parents were in school, as children? I guess not.
[33:55]Did they pull you out of school and homeschool you according to the curriculum of decades ago because they wanted you to be raised in the same way that they were raised? Oh, no?
Excuse of "That's How I Was Raised"
[34:08]Okay, so they perfectly accept that it is essential to learn skills that are new and different from what they learned as children. They have learned new technology, new products and procedures, teachers, new ways of doing business, new standards in the workplace, and countless other improvements over the years and decades. So they were very happy, eager even, to learn new skills in the present, regardless of how they were raised in the past.
[34:42]It might be nice for children to feel at least as important to their parents as a new cell phone. The parents upgraded their knowledge regarding phones. Why didn't they upgrade their knowledge regarding parenting? The answer is clear, I'm sure.
[35:09]The Bible instructs parents to spank their kids. This is for your own good. my parents would say. Beating children is not biblically based whatsoever. The Bible says in Proverbs 13, 24, He that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. The rod has nothing to do with beating children and everything to do with guidance and discipline. Like the rod of a shepherd, Jesus is considered the good shepherd. And his sheep are not beaten with rods, they are guided by them. Even in the literal context of herding sheep, a rod isn't used for beating, but for guiding and defending them from predators. One of the greatest predictors of future criminality is a son whose mother never corrects him or teaches him self-restraint. Thank you.
Excuse of "They Turned Out Fine"
[36:17]Well, so-and-so was disciplined and turned out just fine. Ah, yes, the mythical child who was beaten and turned out just fine. I've heard variations of this idea about me over the years. Well, your mother must have done something right because you turned out okay. I wonder. Only about half of smokers die from smoking, which means that there are hundreds of millions of people around who smoked and turned out just fine. Does that mean that you should smoke? There are some people who fall out of planes without parachutes and survive. Does that mean that you should jump out of a plane without a parachute?
[37:05]It is true that there are some children who appear to be virtually indestructible, just as there are some people who can smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and lived to a ripe old age. The problem is, you don't know who is who ahead of time. And even if children are beaten and seem to turn out fine, who knows how well they could have turned out if they had not been beaten. Maybe a child was half-starved to death and ended up with an average height. Right. Imagine how tall he could have been if he had proper nourishment while growing up. Also, you can find children who were not abused who turned out fine as well. Why not use those children as the example and parent peacefully instead?
Imaginary Disaster Scenarios Excuse
[38:07]If we didn't beat you, you would have done X, Y, Z immoral or illegal thing. Imaginary disaster scenarios can always be invented to justify immoral actions. You can steal from a store owner and then claim that he would have had a heart attack standing behind the counter if you hadn't lured him out to deal with your shoplifting. You weren't stealing, you were helping him. You can throw your aging parents into a nursing home and then claim that you are protecting them from dying due to potential black mold in their former house. You can punch a guy in the face and then claim that he would have been kidnapped if he wasn't safe in a hospital getting his jaw rewired. This is all made-up, devilish nonsense.
[38:59]Also, were you allowed this excuse as a child? If you skipped school, did you get to say that if you had gone to school, you would have been bullied, startled, and fallen down a set of stairs, thus dying. If you failed to show up for a test, did you get to say that if you had shown up, you would certainly have gotten a paper cut, which would have gotten infected and cost you your entire arm? If you snuck candy in the middle of the night and your parents found out, did you say that you were fattening yourself up, just in case you got abducted by space aliens and weren't able to eat for a week or two?
No Excuse for Children, No Excuse for Parents
[39:34]They would have just laughed at you for inventing madcap scenarios to justify your questionable deeds. No excuse for the child. No excuse for the parent.
[39:50]This person turned out badly because he was not spanked enough as a child. It is amazing how much parents know about the secret lives. Of other families. A teenager acts poorly and magical footage of their entire childhood springs unbidden into the minds of your parents. Perhaps that child wasn't spanked, but perhaps she was dumped in daycare, bullied, confined to her room, starved, verbally abused, sexually molested, who knows? Perhaps that child was bored in school, acted out in frustration and was drugged into a half-zombie state. Perhaps her parents fought incessantly, and the child went through the terrible trauma of a brutal divorce. Oh no, say your parents, all children who act badly, who don't seem to be spanked, only act badly for the single and sole reason that they were not spanked. This is truly amazing.
[40:59]Can you imagine the amount of research that parents would have to undertake, not only in the abstract, but in terms of somehow digging out the entirety of facts and history in another family, in order to find a single and sole cause for adult dysfunction? Esteemed social scientists with decades of detailed experience have had almost no luck determining a single and sole cause for any kind of dysfunction across the world over the past century or more. But your parents have distilled the entirety of adult problems down to one singular variable. Honestly, you should tell them to write up their understanding and research and submit it to psychology and social science journals. They are absolutely guaranteed to win a Nobel Prize at the very least. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social scientists, and billions of parents the whole world over, will kneel before them in awe and worship at this massive step forward in the science of the mind. One variable and one variable only predicts negative outcomes for 100% of the children. It's truly incredible.
[42:13]Of course, on the other hand, it does utterly destroy the concept of free will.
Free Will vs. Environmental Determinism in Parenting
[42:23]If not spanking children produces bad adults, then those adults never had any chance at all. They had no free will, no moral responsibility. But wait. If refusing to spank children produces bad adults, then children are not morally responsible for becoming bad adults. We understand this, right? Children merely respond to their environment. They do not possess a moral free will of their own.
[43:07]However, children are spanked because they are morally bad, right? So, which is it? Are children 100% determined by their environment, or do they have moral responsibility for their choices? If children are 100% determined by their environment, then the thesis that not spanking children produces dysfunctional adults can be sustained, but only at the cost of entirely destroying the concept of moral free will. If children have moral responsibility, then you can, at least in theory, punish them for their immoral choices. But then you cannot say that not spanking children inevitably produces dysfunctional adults.
Challenges of Being a Peaceful Parent
[44:07]It's hard to be a peaceful parent when they're not being peaceful kids. This argument that you can hit people who are not being, quote, reasonable seems to apply only specifically to children. Would you accept this as an excuse from a wife beater? It's hard not to smack her when she's being aggressive herself. The idea that the parent is acting in self-defense by being aggressive towards her children, that her children initiate her aggression by being aggressive themselves, is quite remarkable.
[44:52]Let us ask such parents a simple question. Is it hard to be a peaceful citizen when pulled over by a policeman? I mean, a policeman can be quite aggressive. He orders you to pull over with his sirens, orders you to turn off your engine, put your hands on the wheel, produce your license and registration, and comply with and answer all of his questions. Hmm. Did your parents peacefully comply with the policeman? What about when your father was very angry with you, but then there was a knock at the front door? Did he yank over the door and yell at whoever was knocking? Of course not. He instantly switched to his reasonable mode in order to deal with the stranger.
[45:51]If your parents were fighting ferociously and then people started showing up for a dinner party, did they continue screaming at each other in front of their guests? Of course not. At least, I hope not.
[46:07]They might have been a bit tight-lipped, but they got through the evening without yelling, right?
[46:15]If your mother was yelling at you in the car and a security guard tapped on her window with his nightstick, did she stop yelling? Of course she did. So what does this mean? If parents say that their own aggression arises in response to the aggression of their children, then clearly they must be unable to stop being aggressive in the moment. I mean, if I say that I am bleeding because you stabbed me, I don't stop bleeding when the phone rings or guests come over or a security guard knocks on my window with his nightstick.
[46:58]If a father is yelling at his children then immediately becomes peaceful when guests arrive then he cannot claim that he was yelling at his children because his children were aggressive. In other words, if you can instantly stop a particular effect then that effect is caused by something within you, not any kind of external cause. Do you see what I mean? If I say that a sunburn is caused by excessive exposure to sunlight, then that is a truly external cause. I cannot alter that cause and effect in my mind.
[47:46]However, if I say that my aggression is caused by my children but I can instantly turn off my own aggression then my aggression is not caused by my children, If I say that I am angry because my child broke the lamp but I am able to turn off all signs of that anger the moment the phone rings well, the lamp remains broken, and my child is still responsible for breaking it, but I am magically now no longer angry.
[48:26]So, if I can instantly control the effect, the cause is within myself. Do you understand it? my own mother could be screaming at me, but if the phone rang and she thought it might be some man she wanted to date, she would become instantly sweet and submissive. If you say, I'm yelling because you did X, but you can instantly stop yelling, even though X remains a constant factor, then you are lying. If you can choose to not be angry, then clearly you are also choosing to be angry. It is a lie to say that you are angry because your child broke the lamp. You are angry because you choose to be angry, your child breaking the lamp is just an excuse. We know that you are angry because you choose to be angry, because when someone knocks on the door, you choose to not be angry. Your anger effectively disappears.
[49:42]Whatever you can will into non-existence, you have previously willed into existence. I cannot will gravity into non-existence. I don't magically gain the ability to fly when someone knocks on my front door. If my anger disappears with a door knock, it is not caused by any external event. To put it another way, if you are yelling at your son and then you become nice because the phone rings, you are not angry because your son did something. But rather because you can get away with being angry. Your anger makes you feel powerful and good, and that is why you are angry. On the other hand, you don't yell at whoever is calling you on the phone because that could be risky. It could be your boss or someone else who has authority over you, an innocent neighbor. You could lose status and thus feel less powerful and good if you yell at whoever is on the phone.
[50:54]You yell at your son to feel powerful. You are nice to whoever is on the phone so that you don't lose status and thus lose power. You yell at your son to feel better. You are nice to strangers so you don't feel worse.
[51:16]I was spanked and I turned out fine. This is also a remarkable statement when you think about it.
[51:27]Everyone thinks, from time to time, about the road not traveled, the path not taken. What if I had never moved to Canada? What if I had never met my wife? What if I hadn't dropped out of university? What if I had taken that job overseas? sees. We have no certain way of knowing, of course, how our lives would have turned out if we had made different choices, been exposed to different experiences, or been born in a different household. However, these time and space-traveling parents have clearly gone down every possible path of their life, good, bad, and indifferent, and seen every possible outcome and realized that but they have turned out the very best because of exactly what happened to them.
[52:21]They have swallowed some red pill and traveled down the highways and byways of other possible lives and seen exactly what would have happened to them if they had not been spanked. Of course, this also negates free will and moral responsibility, which is exactly the basis for spanking children, but so what? These parents have deeply examined every possible life they could have ever lived, seen deeply into every conceivable future, and returned from this infinite journey fully content with the absolute certainty that being spanked was a central factor that made their lives wonderful.
[53:07]Now, a sane person would never think of claiming to be in possession of such godlike knowledge. I, for instance, could never imagine claiming that I know that I am living my best conceivable life better than any other alternatives, because I am not a madman. The amount of vanity required to make such a statement is utterly beyond the conception of any rational person. If a parent says that he turned out fine even though he was spanked, or because he was spanked, the only sensible question to ask is, how do you know? Spoiler, there is no way to know. Claiming otherwise is a pathetic coping mechanism.
[54:07]Kids need to learn to respect and obey their parents. Well, this is a basic maturity test If a man has a disagreement with a woman do we respect him if he beats her up? Don't we consider it the mark of a better person to resolve conflicts with words, not fists? Don't we constantly tell our children to use their words, not their fists? Don't we dislike bullies who use violence to get their way? If it is possible to resolve conflicts with your children through language rather than beatings, wouldn't we respect that far more? Can we truly respect someone we are forced to obey? If a man kidnaps a woman's children and forces her to have sex with him, will she respect him, love him, be loyal to him? Of course not. She obeys him only because he can cause her children great harm. She will hate and resent him for forcing her to obey him.
[55:34]I didn't want to only be a parent, I wanted to have a career, too. One doesn't have to be a massive fan of the old Harry Chapin song, The Cat's in the Cradle, to know where this one leads. It takes an extraordinary lack of empathy to mentally erase the world of the child. Not least because we have all been children in the past. For little children, the world outside the home and family is a fuzzy kind of nothing, a fog bank that regularly swallows up parents, then spits them back after a while. In our evolution as hunter-gatherers, and later farmers, children spent very little time away from their parents. Mothers breastfed and played with their children, and fathers hunted or farmed, but were available every day. In colder climates, families spent winters huddled under blankets, playing games and telling stories, because there was precious little work to be done in the snow.
[56:45]One simple way to understand how little time parents spent away in the past is how dependent and helpless babies and toddlers are. In biology, that which ends up the most complex tends to develop the most slowly. Horses can walk within a few days of being born. Human beings take about a year. But then we get to do gymnastics as well.
[57:18]Our brain is able to become so complex because we are so helpless during the first year of life, which has been referred to as the fourth trimester. Basically, we get born about eight seconds before our heads get too big to pass through the birth canal. And then the further development that in every other species occurs within the womb actually occurs outside the mother. This is why babies are so helpless and dependent, and so incredibly strongly bonded to their parents, particularly their mothers. It takes a year to learn how to walk, five years to develop a fairly fixed personality, ten years for good language skills, and fifteen years for sexual maturity. This used to be eighteen years or so before the trauma and parent absence of the Industrial Revolution. For the human male, it takes a quarter of a century for the brain to fully mature, a few years less for females. Twenty-five years.
[58:31]If parents had a habit of abandoning their babies, we would never have developed the brain complexity we currently enjoy. You only have the brains to pursue a career because your ancestors, mothers in particular, never pursued careers.
[58:52]Human babies are among the loudest offspring in nature. Babies left alone would simply be calling out for predators and not last very long. Of course, it is quite natural for human beings to have contradictory desires. Some men who get married miss dating around. Some mothers miss the endless male attention they got when they were single. Children often can't wait to grow up. Adults then look back with great fondness and nostalgia on their own childhoods. When you're young, you want to be older. When you're older, you want to be younger. It's the same pattern everywhere. People think they will be happy when they achieve a certain goal. After they achieve it, they look back on their striving with great fondness and miss having that central and defining purpose.
[59:43]Everyone dreams of becoming wealthy, but people who win the lottery very often destroy their lives. Contradictory desires are natural in such a complex brain as we possess, but we do have to make decisions about priorities. What would we say to a man who got married to a beautiful woman and then tried to seduce every other woman he came across? We would view him as dangerously foolish and take great pity on his wife. We would say, why bother getting married if you don't have any plans to be monogamous? Right. There is nothing wrong with women having careers, of course, just not when they have young children at home who depend on them.
[1:00:33]If you want to sleep around, don't get married. If you want to have a continuous career, don't have a child. If you have a child, don't have a career for a while. You see, children don't know anything about your deep feminist desires to make a mark on the world. All they know, all they understand, all they experience, is that mommy doesn't love them enough to stay home.
[1:01:17]Ladies, if your husband vanishes every night and weekend, claiming to be in hot pursuit of some engaging hobby, how would you experience that? Surely you would say, well, I don't know exactly what he does want, but I do know that he doesn't want to spend time with me. Children experience their mother's working as maternal abandonment. This is not a theory. The studies are very clear. Women who put their children in daycare for 20 hours or more a week, Well, those children experience similar symptoms as children who are completely abandoned by their mothers.
[1:02:08]How are children supposed to love themselves if they feel unloved by their mothers? How are children supposed to feel important if they feel unimportant to their mothers? How are children supposed to develop the capacity to pair a bond if the maternal bond is shattered by shallow, materialistic, ideological greed? When children grow up, it is not hard for them to do the basic math and realize that they were abandoned in the crib for a few pathetic dollars an hour. Ladies, imagine if your husband decides to play golf instead of taking you out for your wedding anniversary. Wouldn't you feel rejected, abandoned, desolate, lonely, appalled? Wouldn't you feel bottomless wells of hurt and anger?
[1:03:21]Wouldn't you question the entire basis of your supposed relationship? Of course you would. Ditto for your children.
[1:03:36]I'm not a perfect parent, but she or he is not a perfect kid either. Ah, the great tit-for-tat argument. Look, children are largely soft clay molded by their parents. Can you imagine how insane it would be for a sculptor to rage against the ugliness of his sculpture and tell everyone who would listen that the sculpture is just disobedient, willful, rebellious, that its ugliness is its own fault, or at least it shares equal fault with the sculptor?
[1:04:13]How would you view a painter who punched his own painting, yelling that the colors and perspective were just not doing the right thing, and that he was helpless to convince his painting to look good? Would he not be a candidate for an insane asylum? Of course he would be. Can you imagine how sadistic a parent would have to be to teach swear words to a toddler and then punish the toddler for swearing? Wouldn't that be appalling? Children inevitably absorb the ideas, arguments, words, and actions of their parents. When you look back at movies and interviews from the 1950s, the men and women have particular ways of speaking, which don't exist at all anymore. Why did they speak that way? Because their parents did. When you think of cultures that have survived for thousands of years, how were they maintained? Thank you.
[1:05:17]Prior to the Communist Revolution, Chinese culture had been largely continuous for 6,000 years. How is that possible? Some languages can trace their lineage back thousands or tens of thousands of years. How are they maintained? Through the parents, of course. When you think of national characteristics, the cold politeness of the British, the passionate intensity of the Italians, the rigid efficiency of the Germans, these are all emotional and intellectual habits that have been passed down generation after generation.
The Shadows Cast by Your Actions
[1:06:00]There is no such thing as culture without children absorbing parental habits. Your children are the shadows cast by your actions.
[1:06:14]Can you imagine yelling at your own shadow because it slouched or looked fat? Again, you would be a candidate for a mental asylum. Attacking your children is attacking yourself. Hitting your children is hitting yourself. A family is one blood. One flesh. If your shadow looks fat, you need to dye it. If your sculpture is ugly, well, you held the chisel, my friend. If your children misbehave, you need to improve.
[1:07:08]Kids are resilient. They'll survive. Ah, yes, the endless imaginary robustness of children. Of course, children are resilient and will most likely survive. But so what? If you eat a piece of moldy bread, are you likely to die? No. Your immune system is resilient, and you will survive. Does that mean that it is okay to serve you a piece of moldy bread? Most people survive car crashes. Does that mean that car crashes are okay? Your face is resilient, and you will almost certainly survive being punched in the mouth. Does that mean that it is okay to punch you in the mouth? Women rarely die from being raped. Does that mean that rape is okay? Do we excuse the rapist by saying that women are resilient and they will survive? Of course not. That would be morally abhorrent.
[1:08:10]Fragile parents lose their temper and scream at their children over the most minor and inconsequential transgressions and then say that their children are robust, resilient, and will survive. If your kid carelessly breaks a lamp, well, as a parent you are resilient and you will survive the breaking of the lamp, right? So there's no need to lose your temper and yell at your child, right? No. This forgiveness rarely happens. The parent, whose survival is in no way threatened by the broken lamp, yells at the child, then later claims the children are resilient and will survive. If children can be yelled at because they are resilient and will survive, then why are the parents who were yelled at as children so fragile and volatile? Yeah. We all know the answer to that one.
[1:09:13]I didn't know you were unhappy. There are two responses to this defense. The first is that it is the parent's job to know when the child is unhappy. And the second is that a parent who has no idea that the child is unhappy, who cannot at all tell the difference between a happy child and an unhappy child, is so emotionally distant from the child that they cannot be considered capable of parenting at all. Let us take a medical analogy. allergy. We can assume that a competent doctor would know the difference between a man who is sleeping and a man who is unconscious because he has been beaten half to death. If a doctor cannot tell the difference between a sleeping man and a bruised and beaten man, then the doctor is not a doctor at all, but some bizarre person posing as a doctor. Because even people People who aren't doctors can tell the difference, between sleeping and being horribly injured.
[1:10:22]Can the doctor claim as his defense that neither the sleeping nor the beaten man told the doctor anything? Of course not. It is the doctor's job to tell the difference between a healthy person and a beaten person. If your wife is in a terrible car accident and is bruised and bleeding all over the place and you take her to the emergency room and she passes out and then you fall asleep because you've been waiting for so long, and you wake up with the doctor standing over you trying to treat you, would that make any sense at all? Would you feel any confidence in a doctor who could not tell the difference between your broken and bleeding wife and your own sleeping form?
[1:11:11]If you got upset with the doctor and told him to treat your wife, not you, and the doctor claimed that neither you nor your wife told him who he should be treating would you accept that as an excuse? She never told me she was injured neither did you. Would you even know what to say in such an insane situation? Would it even be worth reminding the doctor that it is kind of his job to be able to tell the difference between the victim of a terrible car crash and a man who just dozed off? Yet this is what parents expect children to accept. Total madness.
[1:11:56]I always try to listen to you kids. Parents often defend their own bad parenting with the appeal to the statement, I tried. First of all, decades-old claims of intentionality can never be verified. Claiming that you are not responsible for anything because of some internal state that was utterly contradicted by your external actions that all happened 20 years ago to boot is both contemptible and ridiculous.
[1:12:29]If a husband repeatedly beats his wife for years and then decades later claims that he never actually wanted to beat her and always tried to not beat her, what would that even mean? Couldn't anyone just say that? Can a compulsive shoplifter stand before a judge after her tenth conviction and claimed that she never wanted to steal anything, that her intention was to respect property rights, and she didn't mean to steal at all. She is trying to overturn empirical and objective actions with a subjective and unverifiable state of mind. This is beyond ridiculous. As a child, if you fail a test in school because you didn't study, do you end up getting a passing grade when you explain to the teacher that you really meant to study and had the best intentions? Nope. You are judged by your empirical actions rather than your unverifiable intentions. Also, something you do repeatedly cannot be considered unintentional.
[1:13:55]A serial killer can never claim that it was just a series of bad accidents, that he never intended to kill anyone, that it was all just involuntary manslaughter and unfortunate circumstances. Why not? Well, because he keeps killing people. It's certainly possible for one man to accidentally kill another, but not if there are many victims spread over many years which were all chosen, pursued, and murdered. Would it not be entirely right and just to say to such a serial killer, we cannot judge you on your stated intentions, we can only evaluate your consistent actions. Thank you.
[1:14:38]If we let serial killers off because of their unverifiable historical stated intentions, wouldn't we just be ensuring that many more people will end up being murdered? Of course! But it is even worse than that. Imagine a powerful judge who sent hundreds of criminals to prison based on the results of a particular DNA test. Then imagine that the judge was accused of a crime based on the results of the exact same DNA test. Now imagine the judge defending himself by saying, Oh, that DNA test has never been accurate. It's complete nonsense and should never be used to convict anyone.
[1:15:23]Would we believe him? Would we apologize for accusing him of a crime? No. No, this would be evidence, the highest, deepest, and most contemptible corruption imaginable. If the judge has punished people for decades based on the DNA test that he now claims is completely invalid the moment it involves him, what could we possibly say? If the DNA test is valid, then the judge is convicted. If the DNA test is invalid, then the judge is also convicted because he used that test for decades to send hundreds of innocent people to prison while all the time knowing it was invalid.
[1:16:11]How does this relate to parenting? We know, right? If parents should not be held accountable for bad parenting because of their unverifiable intentions, then they should have never held their own children accountable, because their children doubtless claimed that they didn't mean to do whatever they got punished for. If a son is threatened with punishment for hitting his sister, but the son says, as all children do, that he didn't mean to hit his sister, do the parents then refuse to punish him because he claims a lack of intention? Children should never be punished then, because claiming that you didn't mean to do something is enough to get you completely off the hook, right? If parents accept that their own stated intentions are enough to establish perfect innocence, then why did they ever punish their own children, despite their children claiming that they had no intention to do wrong?
[1:17:21]Children are even punished when their stated intentions are true, moral, and valid. Children who disagree with their parents and have very good reasons for that disagreement are often punished for talking back, having an attitude, and being disrespectful.
[1:17:40]The child who disagrees with the parent has generally no intention of being disrespectful or having an attitude, but that doesn't matter. The child is punished anyway. And why? Because intentions don't matter. Ah, but when the adult child holds his own parents accountable, suddenly, well, don't you know, intentions are all that matter. You might say that the parents used to believe that intentions didn't matter, but over the years, with their accumulating wisdom and maturity, they now accept that intentions are all that matter. But this is like the judge finding out only late in his career that the particular DNA test is invalid. What should he do on gaining possession of this terrible knowledge? Well, of course he should reveal this to everyone, work to reverse all of his earlier judgments based upon the validity of that DNA test, exonerate the innocent, get them out of prison, apologize, make restitution, there would be a whole host of actions, that he would have to take upon discovering that, the DNA test was invalid.
[1:19:02]But parents don't do this. They attack and punish their own children, ignoring all claims of intentionality, but when criticized by their adult children, they instantly switch to the defense of intentions are all that matter.
Transparent and Pathetic Manipulation
[1:19:22]It's transparent and pathetic manipulation. Moral hypocrisy of the worst kind.
[1:19:35]I've become a better person since then. Some parents claim that they should not be judged for their prior actions because they have become better people since their dark and dismal days of punishing their children. If that is truly the case, then they would have sat down with their children many years ago and apologized for their own bad parenting and made all possible restitution, such as paying for therapy. If the parents end up waiting for their own adult children to confront them on parental wrongdoing, then guess what? They haven't actually become better people. A criminal who truly repents will contact his victims, apologize, and make restitution. That's an empirical way to tell that he's actually become a better person. Even in the 12-step programs for recovering addicts, one of the steps is to contact people you have harmed through your addictive behavior, apologize to them, and make restitution.
[1:20:43]Also, if the principle is that you should not be held accountable for past misdeeds if you claim to have become a better person, then surely the parents would never have brought up any of their own children's past misdeeds since the purpose of parenting is to make your children better people.
[1:21:05]If you are a good parent, your children continually become better people, and therefore should never be held accountable for anything wrong they did in the past. However, we all know that most dysfunctional parents are constantly bringing up children's prior misdeeds, and would never stop doing this just because their children said, Oh, but I've become a better person since then. So, apparently, as usual, it's a perfectly valid defense for bad parents, but a perfectly invalid defense for bad children. Gross.
[1:21:44]I'll always be your mother. I deserve forgiveness. We don't have to spend much time on this one. If family members deserve forgiveness on the basis of blood ties, then why were children not given forgiveness based upon their blood ties? If you have to forgive another family member because of the permanency of familial relations, then why is it not equally valid to say, when you were a child, I'll always be your child, I deserve forgiveness? Any parent who claims a moral defense that she denied to her child is corrupt beyond words. Why should adults have infinitely lower, Why should adults have infinitely lower moral standards for themselves than the standards they inflict on their own children?
[1:22:46]The parenting books slash therapist at the time said to let you work it out on your own. Claims that past experts are actually responsible for bad parenting decisions are beyond laughable. First of all, whenever children ask for details about all of this prior expertise that led their parents down a bad road, it almost turns out to be unverifiable.
[1:23:14]Some therapist told me such and such. Well, you will never be able to verify that claim in any objective way. The therapist is probably retired and the notes have been destroyed years or decades ago. And the therapist has no obligation to talk to you anyway, and may be prohibited from doing so according to regulatory standards. So, your parents can say anything they want, and you can never verify anything at all. Perhaps, though, they still have a copy of the book that gave them such terrible advice. Perhaps it even has notes scrawled in the margins or other indications that they actually read the book and made decisions on its contents. Okay, hard to believe, I know. But it could happen, I guess. Very well. When you think of the incredible variety of nutritional approaches and dieting advice, can someone on a diet say that they're just doing what some expert told them to? Not really. Why not? For the simple reason that there is such disagreement among the experts.
[1:24:29]There are books out there that recommend spanking. However, there are many more books out there that recommend not spanking. The argument that the expert told me to is invalid for the simple reason that, where there is such disagreement among experts, you will simply choose the expert who tells you what you already want to do. If you like eating meat, you will doubtless be partial to the carnivore diet. If you are okay with reducing your carbs, keto is the way to go, right? It's not the experts, it's your own preferences that define what you do.
[1:25:11]I guess I didn't do anything right. This is typically a more female defense, although fathers use it occasionally too. In this defense, black-and-white absolutism is deployed so that any criticism of anything means that nothing good or right was ever done. If you say to your wife that there is a little bit too much salt in the soup, and she responds with, Oh, so I guess I never cook anything right, that is a transparently bristle and ugly defense. It is a way to distract you from any immediate feedback or criticism and also punish you for daring to provide negative feedback in any way, shape, or form. If you criticize your wife and she explodes with irrational absolutes and ruins the entire evening, she is simply punishing you for having any criticism, which is not for the present but rather for the future. She is training you to avoid having any criticism of her by applying hours of hysterical negative stimuli to anything you bring up. It's actually how you train a dog to poop outside the house.
[1:26:24]If you criticize your mother and she replies that, well, I guess I never did anything right in your eyes, what is she trying to do? Well, it's obvious, right? She's trying to get you to talk about all the good things she did as a way of programming you to stop saying anything negative. Also, it is a common characteristic of narcissists to demand that you comfort them after they have injured you. You have a problem with your mother's parenting. And then she pretends to emotionally collapse so that you end up having to reassure her and prop up her own self-esteem and infinitely fragile personality. It's tragically pathetic.
[1:27:13]Of course, the real hypocrisy is, as usual, that you were never allowed this defense as a child. yelled. If you were yelled at for breaking something, did you get to point out all the things you hadn't broken, at least that day, and thereby avoid any punishment at all? If you failed a test, did you end up getting a passing grade because you said to the teacher, oh, I guess this means that I fail at everything in life and will never succeed at anything ever? I hope at least that your teacher would patiently point out that you were simply failing one test. It didn't have any larger ramifications on your life as a whole. If you broke a school rule, did you get to avoid punishment because you pointed out all the other rules that you did not break? Does a murderer get his charges dropped because he points out that he did not kill the vast majority of people he met? Of course not.
The Promise of Imaginary Future Benefits
[1:28:19]My mother used to say, one day you'll thank me for this, after beating me when I was a child. It's hard to imagine any wrongdoing that could not be justified by an appeal to imaginary future benefits. A man kills a woman. Does he get to avoid punishment because he claims to know with certainty that she would have become a serial killer in her old age, so he is actually saving lives?
[1:28:47]Well, that would be halfway. To an insanity defense. A brutal father breaks his daughter's arm, putting her in hospital. Would it make sense for him to later lecture her that he saved her life? Because she would have certainly been hit by a bus if she hadn't been safe in a hospital bed. And did you ever get this defense as a child? If you broke a lamp, did you get to avoid punishment because you informed your parents that they would thank you later because the new lamp would be much prettier and brighter? Of course not. You would be further punished for your lack of remorse and insouciance. Did your parents ever forgive you for your misdeeds because you told them that they would end up thanking you somewhere down the road? If you drove your bike into the side of your father's car, what would happen if you loftily informed him that he might be upset now, but he would thank you in the future? It's hard to imagine, right? It would be like setting off a grenade. If you spilled paint on a carpet and your parents got angry, would they instantly calm down and thank you? If you told them that the new carpet would be much prettier and softer so they should actually show you some gratitude? I kind of doubt it.
[1:30:12]What if your mother is really lonely and depressed and she calls you up demanding that you come over and spend time with her? And you tell her that you're not going to because you want to teach her strength and independence. And while she might be crying and angry now, she will totally thank you years down the road when she has achieved all of this strength and independence. What would she say? Would she accept that you are right and thank you for helping her become stronger? Her, or would she condemn you for your coldness and heartlessness? We all know the answer to that one, right? If a man beats his wife, is it a reasonable, moral, or legal defense to say that he was just trying to teach her to stop nagging, and that she would thank him down the road for liberating her from such a bad habit? Yeah. Good luck with that.
[1:31:10]The tragedy of all of these ridiculous and ghastly defenses is that they all rest on the premise that adults should never be held accountable to the moral standards they aggressively and often violently inflict on their own children. Well, no one is above the law. And in particular, No one is above the moral law. All who claim otherwise are hopelessly corrupt.
[1:31:50]And I am now out of excuses to finish this book. I could keep writing, but the work is done. Everything has been proven. Everything has been explained. The great work of philosophy has finally broached the fiery moat of the family. You have learned all you need to learn, and thus you, my friend, are also out of excuses. uses.
[1:32:38]You must now go and live and spread the message of peaceful parenting. Go. Go on now. Go save the world. And please stay in touch at Thank you so much. Stefan Molyneux, M.A., host, Freedom Inn. April 2024. The beginning of the future. This book is totally free for you to read, to share, as you like, as you see fit, as far and wide as humanly possible, I beg you. If you find this work to be of value to you, your friends, your family, your children, your parents, please consider a donation at slash donate. Thank you.

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May 2024

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