Razing the Village

POSTED ON May 17th 2013 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Bloggers and Blogging, Childcare, Feminism

For months now, I’ve had a third, maybe fourth, draft post about the clichés in women’s debates. But I keep raiding it for other posts and comments and have yet to finish the article itself. It happened again today with a HuffPo article about nannies and babysitters. We don’t give ourselves, or other women, permission to have them. In my draft of clichés, one of them is, of course, “it takes a village” but I contend that the village hardly exists and we would resist using it anyway. I’d write that post up right now, but the Things have a birthday party to attend. I will try to write it up this afternoon, although I do have a slumber party going on tonight, and a date night…might be the weekend. Regardless, a little more related reading until then:

On French daycare

On broken chains of knowledge about children and about motherhood



  1. ari said:

    The ” it takes a village” kills me. absolutely kills me. Anyone citing that is living in a broken city. Sodom was a village. Gomorrah was a village. Bethlehem was a collection of small houses. Melissa Perry whosis, with her ad about all children belong to us- lives in New Orleans- one of the most unsafe “villages” for children, anywhere. She lives in New Orleans, which has the lowest literacy rates, highest murder rates, and highest under-age, unmarried pregnancy rates of anywhere. If she wants to go back to that village model- with her clients?- she’s begging to get her people back into slave shacks. That’s they only way anyone else has ever been responsible for someone else’s child- if they owned them.

    Oh, wait- monasteries and orphanages- which rely on Catholic social mores. Which aren’t really an American, Protestant tradition. Slavery, debt- bondage, serfs, underpaid factory hands, unpaid jail labor- those, we do. There are states who built their roads with chain-gangs, states that mined their minerals with chain-gangs, etc. Angola, in Louisiana, is a fully functioning medieval plantation, basically. All prison. Melissa Perry’s charges end up in these places at high rates.

    HRClinton got up and said the same thing at the Methodist General Convention- I’ll have to find the quote again, it’s in Liberal Fascism- about kids not belonging to the parents, but to the community. Okay, well, raising kids is not a core competency of any community. HRC was from a suburb of Chicago- her “heartless” private-life privileging suburb did a great job of raising tender-hearted fools. Her youth group would ship out to Chicago to do volunteer work. Did she never notice that the Chicago way involved believing that it was some other fools’ job to raise their kids? The village was close to Sodom and Gomorrah- high rates of venereal diseases, high murder rates, alcoholism, drug use, low rates of literacy, low rates of marriage, low graduation rates.

    As for mothering: that’s why we have books and debates. we aren’t traditionalist, and we never, ever have been. it’s in history books from the beginning. Americans set out to raise revolutionary Republican free people, and we’ve been trying to figure out how since 1776. It’s always an experiment. British aristocrats would tour America, and write sputtering letters about rude children not bowing to them, and how the revolting American parents were pleased with their outspoken brats.

    As well, we get children from marginal parents, at a higher rate than the rest of the world. Statistically, we’re nuts compared to the rest of the world: more mania, more ADD, more effusions of personality. Most Americans, through most of time, were unmarriageable to the rest of the world- too much gambling, drinking, mental illness, adventureism. Scott, of Arctic exploration fame in England? Was considered nuts, his wife considered some wild Brunnehild. To Americans- he was just an incompetent wanker who could write well, and got lost on his way. We sent Louis and Clark, and got them back. (nuts, at least one of them) Their staff was pretty crazy, too.

    It’s a really bad idea in America to rely on steady, calm, reliable parents forming an unbroken chain of kindness in raising children. We’ve relied on healthy vigor- which means some grandparents and uncles and cousins- and widespread literacy for advice- since before the Revolution. Seriously- highest rate of survival of regular people, and highest general literacy rates in the world, from before the Revolution.

    That’s part of why O’care, which aims to ratchet up misery and lack of care on people past age 45, and on gov’t literacy standards ( as in, functionally illiterate kids) and an interventionist government- really do strike at the base of how America really functions. The aim is more similar to French socialists- SdB claims she wanted to be dead at 60- no more lovers sniffing around her- and O’care is built on this. It’s not built to keep grandparents alive and healthy, and moderating the insanity of their kids. Mental illness calms down. We rely on the muted forms of it to invent stuff. We need healthy relatives.

    We invent, they don’t. That’s pretty much the story of Everything in America. One corollary of that is: American moms invent motherhood.

  2. Leslie Loftis said:

    Ok, you’ve gotten to something I didn’t cover in my post. (It’s written, but I don’t like it yet. And I have a sick daughter at home plus my housekeeper just became a grandmother again a few hours ago. Since she’s out for most of the week, I have more chores than normal. Polish and post later.)

    There are two visions of village, the one HC meant and the common sense one.

    You are taking down the whole idea that children belong to the village, hence we all have to pitch in to raise them. I’ve skipped over that because, while you are right to trash the horrible notion of children as communal property, when typical moms are lamenting the missing village, they mean just the sense of family and motherhood community–the grandparents who would take kids for the weekend, the neighbor who would tell wandering children to get their bikes out of the middle of the street, the teenager who could pop over in a babysitting pinch. That’s the motherhood that American mothers used to be particularly good at. Now it’s hard to do because that village of family, neighbors, and teens doesn’t exist anymore, largely due to feminist advice since the Second Wave.

    That’s where the kids as communal property comes in. Having razed the traditional village, HC and others use the void to insist that society, government, must step in. An example from a week ago: NYT article on paying parents to cook at home. Never mind that we used to cook at home in the days of single earner families. We can’t go back to something that worked because “progress” so some get the government to incentivize it. Similar, I’ve been watching a debate on feminist issues, Feminism and the Terrifying Deoendence of Children. A comment: [emphasis mine]

    But back to babies, I do think Conrad’s point is at the heart of it. If we see raising babies as work performed in a market, then its value will inevitably tend toward zero. Few mothers will abandon their babies if not paid for mothering them, giving a market value of that work of… zero. I’m not wild about “investment in the future” as an argument for paying parents if for no other reason than that it justifies a huge intergenerational debt load (that investment made explicit).
    So we need to come up with a non-market frame for the value of motherhood/parenthood.

    We had that non-market frame once, when motherhood was lauded in society and in individual families. Ever since the feminists labeled it a comfortable concentration camp and told women that paid employment was the only way society would truly value women, housewifery has had PR problems, to say the least. I’m glad that some feminists now see the domesticity problem, but frankly I get annoyed when they think it is some new problem and don’t realize that it is one they made. Besides, repair of a tested thing requires different analysis and action than trying to invent something new and hope it works.

    Cooking link HT Uncouth Reflections, one of their link lists. FYI, interesting blog that is a bit off of the beaten path; has fresh stuff, well beyond things that Instapundit, and therefore everyone else, links to.

  3. ari said:

    For that matter, O’s Mother in Law is raising the kids, while Michelle jets about. He’s living in a crack-house, already. The grandmothers raised the kids while the moms fooled around. Michelle might not be smoking , but she’s jetting around, working out, playing Marie Antoinette in her garden.

  4. ari said:

    What magic combination of words got you a housekeeper? Spouse is looking at buying a new house next year. Twice as big. He’s not agreeing to no carpet, and he’s adding to the pets. And, he’s not seeing his way clear to an immediate dishwasher, for the past few years. What magic combination?

    I think I know mine- write and publish- so I can pay for the cleaner, myself. I dream about my great-grandmother’s very small, very clean, very leave the kids outside all day in a safe small town, house.

    Seriously, one to two hours on dishes. Plastic plates save five minutes, and you know what? Food tastes worse on disposable plates.

    HRC was one of the people blow-torching the “community.” Her legal writings have always been about how to get children out and away from the parents. Her mentor at church was a youth minister who’d studied under-near Paul Tillich. This sounds obscure, doesn’t it? Mr Tillich was an East German theological professor whose stated goal was to reconcile Christianity with Marxism, with Marx coming out on top. It’s why people get fussy, and declare themselves in line with CSLewis. Lewis stated in Mere Christianity that there isn’t Christianity Plus Whatever, there is only Christianity. Lay- people read Lewis, theo students read Tillich.

    The queasy things on Tillich is that, after his death, his wife wrote an open memoir, which I think is probably pretty easy to find online, detailing how they had agreed to an open marriage- ” Freedom is everything”- so there were infidelities on both sides. As well, Mr Tillich collected sadist, religious porn. These are such placid verbs for what wreckage they made of, not just their own, but others’ lives. Mr Tillich preyed on the innocent young women coming to him for spiritual guidance and advice.

    We defrock priests who prey on parishioners. I think anyone wandering into deliverance ministries notices that when ministers abuse their flock, these prey end up in worse spiritual states than could be expected. Mr Tillich was not a minister, so he couldn’t be disciplined this way, but people looked the other way, as he fed on the innocent souls of young women, one after another. We don’t like it in English professors, we should like it even less in theological professors.

    When I read accounts from his students, or readers of his books- they inevitably try to glide over his transgressions. The people who do glide over or excuse his unclean appetites- tend to also be terrible human beings. As ministers they excuse any brutality, if they perpetrator is known to them. They never advocate for the victims. It’s a blind- spot. It’s really bizarre.

    At most, they’ll sympathize with his wife. Well, she collaborated and consented and aided and abetted. If someone were doing this for alcoholism, we’d diagnose them, and send them to treatment. As it is, she collaborated in the destruction of poorer, younger, less educated women.

    HRClinton’s career is based on this same predation.

    What bugs me- if he’s so blatantly wrong on this one thing- wouldn’t anyone take with caution his other notions? They might have a tint of poison?

    She’s really corrupt, she’s dangerous, and she always has been. Like, from high school. Or “from tampons” as a wrote, elsewhere. She’s always been an advocate for the dangerously unboundaried “do untos.”

    I’m not sure how they function, or if it’s some consequence of always having been in a stable, upper-class home, or something. There’s a few social worker types at church who think, say, Pentecostals, are just icky people who come up with excuses to keep state workers off their lands, rather than normal people with different views about the powers of the state vs their home. It came up in a Bible study. Five women talking about icky Pentecostals. 20% of Brazil is Pentecostal, b/c missionaries would live with them in their cardboard box hovels, and preach to them without snottiness. Right now, the largest slum in the world, in Africa- the Economist noted the all-night Pentecostal revival services- and the cardboard and sheets on strings for walls. The church in Austin sent bags of concrete to their mission in Guatemala to build a solid, concrete brick church- but they only visit once a year. It’s just a different mind-set.

  5. Jody said:

    I am foggy headed, so perhaps I should not be posting, but a couple of things that stick out at me: 1) note that O wants to shut down Catholic charities, is already doing so. What happens when one shuts down the biggest charity provider in the world? Or at least ties its hands in America? 2)I’m not sure there’s a direct correlation to anything already mentioned here, but I have known a number of women who have left their small children, um, nursing babies, to leave the country to do mission work (these women are fundamentalists, for the record). Somehow, it becomes more important to serve the starving children of Haiti than to attend to one’s own children. It is a more worthy pursuit. 3) I just recently became Catholic, confirmed a year ago at Easter. One of the things I appreciate the most, and feel that I missed by not adhering to any particular faith when my children were young(er), is the value placed on motherhood, the idea of parenthood as a vocation. This is not necessarily confined to Catholicism, but it is a significant element in the Catholic faith.

    Sorry not to respond with more completely processed thoughts.

  6. Leslie Loftis said:

    No worries. You’re good. I’ve not even posted the actual post yet.
    1) Is a part of razing the village. Progressives both knowingly and unknowingly destroy the elements that made the village work. Then, the knowing ones, will have government sweep in to fill the void.
    2) I think that is more of a church problem. Social morality and worldly honor. Its a way of seeking salvation through good works… Dangit Jody. Do you know how many bits and bobs of posts I’ve got in the works?! (ari, one of those is about angst about housekeepers.) Now you just added another, and my twins nursery school is out for summer in 30 minutes!
    BTW, did you see the American Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishops speech about Paul? Antidote: HT The Transom

  7. Jody said:

    I wrote this more than once, but it didn’t wind up in my final post: I’ve known folks with nannies, and I never understood why they didn’t, instead, hire a cook or a housekeeper. It seems a better way of keeping the best parts of parenthood to oneself.

  8. Jody said:

    Somewhat ironically, my sister just posted this on Facebook:

  9. Jody said:

    And, yes, yes, absolutely this:1) Is a part of razing the village. Progressives both knowingly and unknowingly destroy the elements that made the village work. Then, the knowing ones, will have government sweep in to fill the void.

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