October 04, 2009
"having children changes things"
That is what I have been told repeatedly -- both by commenters I don't know at all and by friends like M. Simon, who recently said, "Where I might have given Jennings a pass as a single as a parent I'm not comfortable with him."
Of course, I never said I was comfortable with him. Rather, my complaint is that I don't think he is being treated fairly, nor do I think his background as a gay activist inherently disqualifies him.
Beyond that I think the debate over the man's qualifications carries with it an implicit admission that we NEED a safe schools czar -- the argument being over who should be heading another useless, intrusive federal agency. Thus (and quite ironically) the culture war once again hoodwinks the right into unwittingly acknowledging the legitimacy of something that they might otherwise dispute. Might as well argue over who gets to be in charge of putting the condoms on bananas....
But the larger point is certainly worth discussing. Does having children change one's views?
Where it comes to thinking what I think I tend to be a proud person, and I don't like the idea that my thinking could change because I fathered a child. But OTOH, familiarity with certain issues does lend itself to holding opinions based on experience in a way that a lack of familiarity does not. For example, I am familiar with dogs, as I have owned, bred, and raised many dogs, for many years. If someone who has never owned a dog shot off his mouth about dogs in a way that indicated a lack of familiarity, I would not hesitate to point out that he simply did not know what he was talking about. And I have not raised children, so I am not in a position of experience in that regard. Not that I'm trying to tell anyone how to raise their child, but I'm certainly not as qualified as someone who has.
But this reminded me of some wonderful childless heterosexual neighbors I had, who agreed with me about drug legalization, but who told me that when they debated their issue with friends who were parents, they were told in no uncertain terms, "If you had children you would feel differently."
Would they? It's bad enough to think that having a little brat would change my attitude towards sex, but I'd hate to think that I'd be forced to change what I think about drugs too!
Who are these people, these diaper-wearing fascists? And what gives them such power over their parents' political thinking?
And suppose for the sake of argument that the government wasn't involved in the parenting process. Would having children still change things?
posted by Eric on 10.04.09 at 06:02 PM
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