Children today face an incredible set of pressures, partially in the form of negative sanctions, possibly in the form of positive reinforcement (or the withholding of such) by adults to:
Be sexually precocious (there are both gay and straight varieties of this)
Engage in cynical peformances (contemptuous punk rock at six)
Rattle off strings of slang and profanity
Exaggerate outbursts of sadness, angst, and self-pity
Repress attachment to those closest to them
Play the miniature Jacobin, fighting for “justice” apace
Appear as jaded as a mafioso as early as possible
…and so on
I find this troubling. I always did. Now I find it particularly troubling to see these things affecting my own children, and to know that it is primarily the adults of the world that are driving these things.
— § —
Tonight it hits me with clarity, in a ton of bricks.
I’ve always danced around the question with the presumption that it was a kind of sarcastic thought. “Why do adults hate children so much, sheesh?” I’ve asked myself, assuming that I was being hyperbolic.
Of course, as it turns out, I wasn’t.
Just as a great many things in today’s world can be explained by the generalized fear of mortality on the part of a population that has been insulated from hard things their entire lives, a similarly great many things in today’s world can be explained by the fact that, in general, the adults despise children.
Not only that, but they’re afraid of them. Disgusted by them. Repulsed by them. Torn apart by them. By the mere fact of their existince.
What is it that they hate about children?
Innocence, first and foremost. Innocence and truth. Evidence of the joy that they once felt and the potential that they once embodied, now both lost.
Adults today are terrifically, catastrophically, absurdly jealous of children. Jealous to the point of rage. Sublimated rage, but wild, frothing-at-the-mouth rage nonetheless. Today’s adults hate children with a passion, and their innocence, too.
And so they try to—let’s call it—neuter them. To remove the childhood from them. To get them doing sexual orientation, goth jokes, punk rock shows, and smarmy political virtue-signalling as soon as is possible.
Because when their children were born, suddenly, suddenly they found themselves standing in the very, very unfavorable half of a juxtaposition. Their children revealed just how inadequate they were and how hollow, hateful, and superficial they’d become. Yes, those juxtaposed against their very own children felt betrayed.
And those juxtaposed against others’ children felt indignant and imposed-upon and ashamed, as though a stranger had just seen them stroll healthily away from the handicapped parking stall.
— § —
I’ve saw this for years in people I’ve dated, from all over the place, for years, without realizing it until this very moment.
One of them hated children so badly I struggled to be around her whenever the topic came up. The bile poured forth in waves; it was like standing in the middle of a massive electric field and feeling your hair stand up on end and vibrate.
In the end, she clearly knew how much I’d been troubled by it because when I broke it off, she tried to halt the already departing train with what she thought to be an incredible concession. “I’ll give you children,” she said, “okay, I’ll do it for you, I’ll even give you children, just please…”
Funny thing, I’d never mentioned wanting any, and wasn’t sure I did. But I didn’t hate them, and she could tell—and she misread my decision that I couldn’t be with someone so full of venom any longer as (what in her eyes was) vice. It was like she was granting me an open relationship, or saying that I could drink as heavily as I wanted, or gamble as much as I wanted if I’d just stay.
Even in the moment of concession, she presumed that what I felt was guilt at a secret desire for children—one that she was willing in the end to indulge despite herself. It was beyond her capacity to understand that none of it had anything to do with me, or my responses to things, at all.
Go on, pick up The New York Times or The Atlantic. Or scan your Facebook or Twitter feeds. See how people in the opinion sections talk about children in passing. Or parenthood.
Suddenly I can see all of the faces that I’ve known across the years that—I suddenly realize—were like wetted-down witches writhing and suffering in agony, burning at exposure to the truths most clearly embodied by our young, and determined to neutralize them at any possible cost.
— § —
Birth and death. Of course. I’ve rattled on about death for years.
But birth—birth, too, and perhaps moreso.
These are the two truths that already reveal a person’s inevitable mortality, and that always, inevitably, also reveal a person’s mistakes, regrets, and failings.
A society of badly fallen people running around like the criminally insane trying desperately to paper over the beginnings of life, the endings of life, and the extent of human potential before it is lost—so that they never have to face the truth about themselves.
— § —
I’m sure this post will earn me a veritable ton of friends.