Raising Reaction – Discussion Forum

Over at Foseti’s place, there’s a little discussion going on in the comments which is more abstract and very tangential to his specific subject of Mandela and Progressive Chaos.  So I thought it would be best to move it over here in a post of its own.

The general question is how should neoreactionary dissidents raise their children? Is this the same question as to how to raise a child to be faithful to a minority religion and pass on the tradition to their children in the midst of the zealous, evangelizing majority?

Should we even try to do anything out of the ordinary at all?  Should we indoctrinate in our understanding of reality, or let our children come to their own conclusions, or try to merely inoculate them against progressive meme contagion?  What about the boys vs. the girls?  These questions – of how best to raise the first generation of neoreactionaries-by-birth – strike me as important but rarely discussed.  What are examples of success of people raising children to maximize the chances they’ll be religious or maintain a conservative temperament?  Is the track record strong enough to warrant imitation?

I’ll admit I’m not really sure.  I’ll explore my thoughts more in the comments as we bounce some ideas off each other.  I know many neoreactionaries have young children, and so I’d be interested to hear their thoughts especially.  I’d also like to hear from those of you with knowledge of family dynamics and strategies in regimes, such as the old USSR or PRC, in which it was extremely risky and dangerous to express personal opinions contrary to the assertions of the State.

That danger is something asdf brings up in his position against direct intervention.  Here’s a sample from Eugene Volokh, “On a Bus in Kiev“, which, alas, he is making in the context of comparing it to events in the US.

But one memory I have is being on a bus with one of my parents, and asking something about a conversation we had had at home, in which Stalin and possibly Lenin were mentioned as examples of dictators. My parent took me off the bus at the next stop, even though it wasn’t the place we were originally going.

… What’s more, this is so even though most people, including most Communists, knew that Stalin was of course a dictator. The government itself had acknowledged as much. Even Lenin was widely understood to have been a dictator in the sense of someone who didn’t govern through democratic means.

But it’s not the sort of thing that you’d want to say in public, or even to your friends in private. Sssh! — people might hear! Those who hear might draw deeper inferences about what else you might believe. This might get back to the place you work. You might be fired, or blacklisted. By the 1970s, you probably didn’t have to worry much about being shot, or being sent to Siberia; these were not the 1930s. But lost jobs, ruined careers — sure. And a forced public apology: well, of course, that might help a bit.

Now I hasten to say that the controversy at Harvard is only a pale echo of Soviet Communism. …

Yet the public revelation of a private conversation; the public condemnation by management; the obvious danger of serious career ramifications; the apology, which I take it came out of a fear of those ramifications — all for daring to say to friends something that simply represents a basic scientific principle (the need to be open to the possibility that there are racial differences in intelligence, as one is open to other possibilities on other scientific questions) — that just sounded a little too familiar to me.

It’s a pale echo, but of something so bad that we should be wary even of pale echoes. Say, comrade, didn’t I see you reading The Bell Curve and the articles criticizing it? Would you say that this means you “do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent”? Tsk, tsk, comrade, I wonder what the Dean will say. But don’t worry! Perhaps if you publicly apologize, all will be forgiven.

Maybe the first thing to teach is how to be worried and careful and the art of Kitman.  Asdf is worried about destroying integrity and instilling unethical and dishonest mental habits, which I think is a valid concern.

Personally, I send my children to a nice American public school in a fairly progressive suburb.  My attitude has been to lightly monitor the curriculum through evening conversation and issue occasional gentle age-and-maturity-appropriate corrections or stimulative Socratic questions.  One day, perhaps, I can even let the kids know about this blog, and our little, fledgling community.

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43 Responses to Raising Reaction – Discussion Forum

  1. Graf von Zeppelin says:

    I grew up in a Communist country during the Brezhnev years, and have kids in a public school in a blue state now. What I learned from my parents about ketman, I’m teaching my children now.

    The most important thing is to wait until they reach teenage years. It’s too difficult for a pre-teen to maintain the separation between truth at home and truth in public. Once they are teenagers, let them know that you possess scandalous but dangerous secret knowledge, and let them only slowly get access to it. They have to earn it, and they have to desire it. Trust me, they will be dying to find out, and they will value the knowledge immensely.

    I started asking my mom about discrepancies in official version of history when I turned twelve. Slowly, she told me more and more, and after a year she let me read my first prohibited book. That was the gateway drug. More books followed, then foreign radio broadcasts, then talks with my father. I learned our unofficial family motto: “The only property worth owning under socialism is a suitcase!” By the age of seventeen, I was a convinced anti-communist. I defected when I was nineteen.

    • Handle says:

      Thank you Graf, this seems like very good advice to me. It’s very revealing of the nature of our era that we’re even having these kinds of Soviet-style conversations at all.

  2. Orthodox says:

    Homeschool. It is better for children and the single most revolutionary act that most people can make.

    • Handle says:

      My father, a very wise man, once said, “If you want to make the world a better place then raise good kids. It is good people that make a good society. Adding quality to the next generation is the entirely of the scope of influence that 99.99% of people can have on the future.”

  3. Roger Mortimer says:

    I second what Orthodox says. I intend to home school my own children when I have them. Raising them outside the West and political correctness should also help.

  4. asdf says:

    Socratic method is probably a great way to do this, and a good way to converse with the uninitiated in general.

  5. Leonard says:

    It is something I think about, but have not done much about as yet. (My son is seven.) As Graf said, he is not capable of discretion yet. So teaching him any crimethink seems like a bad idea. It would come out at school or somewhere else inappropriate. (He also believes in Santa, I think.)

    He’s getting a proggy education so far. I am somewhat concerned about that. But outside of homeschooling (which I am not doing, and my wife is progressive), I see no way to avoid it.

    Reactionaries can take comfort in the certain knowledge that genes will tell. I simply don’t worry that much about the religious aspect of education, because I don’t think it is that important. Progs are predisposed to sociality and thus progressivism. We are predisposed to the truth and thus reaction. Kids will grow up to be what they are fated to be, probably at the moment of conception. As far as I can tell, my son is a mini-me in personality. So I don’t think it will be that hard to bring him into the truth when he is ready for it.

    • Handle says:

      I’ve looked over some studies on genopolitics / biopolitics, and I’ve read some posts by JayMan about it, but I remain somewhat skeptical of the results.

      I am confident that core personality traits are strongly hereditary, but these personality characteristics are not coterminous with ideological outlook or political attitudes, and it seems to me that many of the studies conflate the two.

      Also, twin studies are always very useful, but while you can separate twins environment somewhat, you can’t separate them in time, generation, era, etc. The broader environment of the media, technology, ‘cultural zeitgeist’ and nationally homogeneous educational approaches is just as identical for separated twins as their genes, so how can we be sure that the sameness is caused by the former, intrinsically, instead of the other, epigenetically? Is it the ‘politics’ that are genetically based, or the susceptibility to certain social messages, or is that even a meaningful question in the sense of pragmatism?

      I’m open minded about it, but not yet convinced.

  6. nickbsteves says:

    Is this the same question as to how to raise a child to be faithful to a minority religion and pass on the tradition to their children in the midst of the zealous, evangelizing majority?

    Yes.

    • Handle says:

      That’s my hunch too. But then what are the trade-offs, and how much separation or isolation from mainstream society is necessary?

      Which groups are most successful and what practical methods can we learn from them in general that is applicable to those who don’t hold to their specific ideological content?

      The Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Amish, and some other groups come to mind – with the Mormons being the least isolated / anti-modern. The Mainline Protestant and Reform Jewish communities seem to be rapidly evaporating or just plain merging with mainstream progressivism, and the evangelicals don’t seem too far behind.

      There are schisms of strong, conservative orthodoxy here and there, but they are remnants, not growth movements. What’s your take on the condition of the American Catholic community?

      • asdf says:

        The Catholic community I belong to is very strong. All this reaction stuff is just talk, they are out there really doing it.

        • Handle says:

          Could you describe what it is that they’re really doing?

          • asdf says:

            We have a young adult Catholic society in the area that is very robust. It’s mostly but not limited to people in their 20s to mid 30s. Generally its people who just graduated college and moved here for grad school/career. They have a website, facebook, and twitter that they organize events through.

            These are on and off and not everyone does everything, but here are some of the events.

            1) Weekly dinner at someone’s house. We socialize for an hour, they we read the discuss this Sunday’s Gospel reading. The discussions are of a much higher intellectual quality then I’m used to from all of my non-religious friends. Many of these people have read Lewis, Chesterton, and are generally quite on the ball. Then we socialize a bit more.

            2) Linked above, the girls that run that talk run an entire Catholic household with five girls. Some knew each other, and some found this housing option through inquiry at the local church. I can’t say enough good things about the group, they are providing a great sanctuary in the heart of the city.

            3) We go to a church history course once a week. There is socializing, then an hour or so lecture on church history, then discussion based around questions from the lecture.

            4) There is another group of men that meet once a week for pick up basketball and board games.

            5) They run another gathering called theology on tap, which is where you go to happy hour at a bar and listen to a lecture from a priest or bishop.

            6) There are men’s, women’s, and couple groups once a month, but for scheduling reasons I’ve yet to attend any.

            7) They run periodic outings to various things. For instance I’m running one to Longwood Gardens tomorrow. I’d say this happens at least once sometimes twice a month, with a little bit of a slowdown around the holidays.

            8) Obviously, they do charity work at different times (habitat for humanity, baking for the homeless shelter, etc).

            9) They hold a special night vigil at the church once a month.

            10) I know they are trying to add a movie night to watch religious films. I think Becket is the first one up.

            11) They ran a weekend retreat I went to up in the mountains. Really, after doing this I have a lot more hope then before. There are so many young people going through the same things who feel the same way about the world. They just feel isolated, trapped, and assaulted by the mainstream and mass media. What you’d get out of a retreat like this is a lot of the same ideas you might get on Bruce Charlton’s website. And you would get it from a really wide cross section of young people.

            Perhaps most of all, you’d get it while people maintained a very positive and Christian attitude. This in spite of the fact that many of these people really got mugged by modernity. A guy I talked with a lot over the weekend was actually a part of the unit that helped track down Bin Laden. He killed, watched some friends die, has PTSD. Saw a lot of the bullshit in our system. Meanwhile, back in the states his fiancé cheated on him with his best friend while he was over there. Modernity really kicked this guy in the nuts. He tried to deal with it with sex, booze, and the secular & psychology bullshit first and it was terrible, but since he found God it’s all been working for him. That’s probably the worst story I heard, but plenty of people are getting mauled by the same traps we talk about here and there are some doozies.

            Part of the reason this is all so positive is that its giving people a way to fight back against modernity. First, it tells them they aren’t insane or alone. Second, it gives them tips, reasons, and encouragement to follow the path. Finally, it attacks the two things that a girl told me recently come after you like crazy, boredom and loneliness. Those two things get people to sin even when they don’t really want to sin. All of this stuff addresses that.

          • Handle says:

            That’s exactly the level of detail I was looking for. Thanks.

            The consistent message I’m hearing on this subject is that to escape – to ‘exit’ in Land’s most intense sense of the word, but ‘in place’, as it were – requires something to exit into; an alternative community with a different organizing principle and the capacity and resources to constitute an adequate (or at least, sufficient) substitute for a wide spectrum of personal needs and social interactions. Bad money drive out good money, but you need some alternative good money to hoard to escape the debasement of the bad money. Fiat regimes make many laws trying to ban good alternatives, like Thailand banning Bitcoin.

            This is especially true when it comes to the socialization of children, which is so dependent on getting consistent signals of reinforcement from various influences: parents, teachers, peers, etc. Natura abhorret vacuum; and, shades of the notion attributed to Chesterton, “When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he’ll believe anything.” Souls wants to be fished, and if you are a passive, isolated dissident, then the master fishermen that surround you will likely bait and hook your kids away.

            I observe exactly this amongst my Mormon friends. Without being utterly closed-off from the rest of modern society, they are still very healthily insular, and if their single alternative community can provide any social function, even a shoddier version of it than can be found in the broader market, then they prefer to deal with others within their community. It ends up taking all of their free time, and it’s where are their friends are found, which has a way of strengthening their resolve and ties with each other.

            I think certain ethnic communities work this way too. The Jews get heavily criticized for this tendency, especially in the past, but I think it’s much more pronounced with East and South Asians. Nevertheless, without a clear choice between conflicting ideologies, the effect wears off in a generation or two.

            At root, and somewhat ironically, it is a very anti-integration message. That’s somewhat humorous coming from a bunch of people who tend to advocate assimilation and criticize multiculturalism with it’s enclaves of distinct cultural communities. But that’s definitely what we need for ourselves.

            One of the things the Europeans, and especially the French, complain about, however, is that Islam represents just such a competitive ‘magnetic pole of attraction’ of a holistic, unitary, womb-to-the-tomb, all-encompassing system of living, which attracts and competes for the exclusivist loyalties of non-European immigrants and their descendants. Islam is pretty effective at doing this (though not much else) in the midst of ‘nations’ which have become deracinated polities and mere ‘administrative areas of operation’ and which have lost all their cultural confidence. I don’t want a neoreactionary ‘Islam’, but there are definitely lessons to be learned.

            One of the problems of the internet, as Scott Adams has pointed out in his ‘Future of Marriage‘ post, is that a modern person becomes alienated from a multifaceted institution (like marriage, or cultural community) because generalist conglomerates are rarely as efficient at providing any particular feature as are boutique specialists.

            But, if you disaggregate the sourcing of your human wants then you can get each selfish want satisfied more perfectly, but you lose the essence of ‘one-ness’ – a single relationship of love with reciprocal loyalty and genuine mutual dedication. That, it seems to me, is the point of Patri Friedman’s rejection of his polyamory in favor of an enlightened monogamy. One could say the same thing about combining the attributes and single-special-subject-matter-courts of polytheism and replacing it with a singular totality in monotheism. The distillation of the concept is the subtle benefit derived from the ‘sacrifice’ of exclusiveness. Most moderns are well-attuned to the sacrifice because it’s simply the pressure of resisting our temptations. They are not taught to appreciate, respect and revere the benefits.

            It completely changes the nature of your relationship to have One God, or One Woman, or One Community, etc., each of which provides you with multiple, less-than-perfect, ‘services’, but to which you too are expected to provide services in your best efforted, albeit less-than-perfect, way. There is no true love, happiness, and satisfaction without providing this service in some form to someone.

            On a very banal level – no discount department store provides anything of an excellent quality, but there is the convenience of everything being reliably cheap, of tolerable quality, and in a single place; so it inspires a kind of loyalty. When you are looking for something new that maybe you don’t know much about, you don’t have to do too much thinking or research, you just go to your one reliable place with a good confidence that they probably have a good-enough version of it there at a good enough price. It eases the cognitive burden and transaction costs of time and effort if there’s a single thing you can always trust.

            Shopping around for the connoisseur-level of everything is very time-consuming (but also very SWPL). SWPL’s shop around for aficionado-level disaggregated bits of the overall complex experience of love and spirituality too. A little passionate lust here, a little deep bond there. Reality restricted to one entity for a lifetime is simply not compatible with enduring intensity of sensation. Humans can’t work that way. And maybe progressivism and the leftist community is their version of a coordinating pole of attraction that is their ideological ‘discount department store’.

            As another mundane example, I recently visited Disney World after a 26 years hiatus. (and as an aside – let me tell you, comparing the two snapshots across a single generation of Disney-attending Americans is a thoroughly depressing, harrowing, and revolting experience.) If you like roller coasters, then none of Disney’s coasters compares to a real coaster amusement park. If you like drive-through safaris, then Animal Kingdom is not nearly on par with the better places that are nearby in Florida. The ‘open shopping mall of a million stores selling the same Disney-branded merchandise, trying to squeeze every last dime out of you at every opportunity, and with an occasional amusement here and there’ design is particularly annoying. Everything is tame and mediocre, but they have a lot of variety, so you can concentrate on your preferences and what’s important to you. The ‘resort’ commerce model is very convenient, and you don’t ever have to do anything on your own (drive, find food, etc) so long as you stay ‘in the community’.

            I didn’t care for the experience at all – perhaps I’m too SWPLish – but obviously a lot of people do. The point of the term ‘Cathedral’ is to emphasize the Islam-ish, comprehensive quality of Progressivism and how it reaches its countless vampire-squid tentacles onto everything in our lives. A neoreactionary exit-in-place (if such things will even be tolerated in time) can’t fire on just one cylinder. You can lay a foundation with pure intellectualism and a ‘republic of letters‘, but the haus to live in needs as many rooms as the move-in-ready competition.

          • asdf says:

            I should note too that this is actually pretty recent. I spoke to the priest and he said this is not that many years old, but that since it started they have seen exponential growth. He feels there is an immense need out there in young adults for religious involvement that isn’t being met and they are amazed by the response.

            There is also a burgeoning movement of lapse Catholics in their 50’s and 60’s coming back. We do the weekly church history lectures with them.

          • asdf says:

            There is a lot to get into in that reply. One thing I think is a problem in modern society is the potency of experiences available, especially in a relatively consumptive role. In the past if you wanted good music you needed to learn to sing. Today you pop in a CD. The CD has the efforts of the best natural singers in the world buttressed by expensive technological manipulation. How does a hobbyist compete with that? Why bother? Well, unless you value developing the skill itself, not just the audio quality, you won’t. It seems to me that you’ll only value the skill itself if a whole bunch of things are present. Such a supportive community that is learning it with you and comes to your performances. That would rather here you sing then listen to the CD because of a bond you have. You know my Dad did barbershop since 1965, once a week every week. Over Thanksgiving the guy got to sing a Carnegie Hall. Who ever would have predicted that.

          • Handle says:

            This is why the ‘social capital’ concept and ‘Bowling Alone’ ideas are so important. That’s also what I was getting at with Progressivism ist Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft – these things dried up and people need a replacement, and one place to look is the progressosphere, but it need not be the only place.

            We can make another place, perhaps. Social capital has various competitive currencies. We can make make our own rival coinage. As a koan, here’s a poetic excerpt from Delirium from Corman McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.

            … he is at contriving from cold slag brute in the crucible a face that will pass, an image that will render this residual specie current in the markets where men barter. Of this is the judge judge and the night does not end.

          • asdf says:

            Yes, creating more robust communities is a train we all need to get on. I would caution one thing though. You can’t really be on the train if you don’t really believe. “This would be nice so I’ll pretend I believe,” doesn’t really accomplish much IMO. That sort of compliance/deal making approach to group interaction is a recipe for backsliding and turmoil.

        • josh says:

          Where and how did you find a very strong Catholic community? My brethren appear to have been neutered and lobotomized by the Neocons.

      • nickbsteves says:

        We are in a homeschool cooperative that meets once a week and fills up a (now closed) Catholic school. Probably about 50 families (~200 kids) involved, mostly Catholic, and extremely natalist. Probably about 20 families on the waiting list. Virtually all of these families are reactionary to some degree (right libertarians, socons, etc.). You have to be to reject not only traditional state schooling but also centuries’ old tradition of Catholic schooling (which is on average not really Catholic anymore).

        I would estimate 70-80% of these kids will grow up, remain in the faith, either marry in the faith, have lotsa kids, and continue to homeschool or pursue the priesthood or religious life.

        My thumb is decidedly not on the pulse of Catholicism generally, nor even of the homeschool “movement” nationwide, but in my little corner of the world, it seems raising little reactionaries is that hard, so long as you know what you’re up against.

  7. nickbsteves says:

    Step 1: Homeschool. Not only does this pretty much remove Official Cathedral Indoctrination, but even more importantly, allows you to shield your kids, in their impressionable years (<13), from the more… how shall I put this delicately?… deleterious aspects of popular culture;

    Step 0: Instill in your children a deep skepticism of politics, power, and help them gain and understanding of those who have power, manage to get and maintain it; teach your children how to lie with statistics (not to do so obviously, but only how to); irrespective of whether you take Step 1 or not, you will have built into them a substantial immunity from the Pretty Lies.

    Step 2: Think locally, act locally. Don’t let global political concerns (either way) too deeply influence what is of value to you and yours. What part of “Community Garden” do you not understand? Local ordinances to limit development may very well enhance the quality of life of you and everyone around you… no need to sacrifice that to the Great God of Efficiency.

  8. Peter Blood says:

    Homeschool or die.

    Education is not filling heads with facts and figures, it is moral training. The moral training in The Synagogue is exactly what we are fighting against.

    • Handle says:

      Develop this thought with more detail. What are some examples of good and bad moral training to contrast.

      • Peter Blood says:

        Bad: equality.
        Good: hierarchy

        Bad: tolerance
        Good: excellence

        Bad: democratism, “rule of the people”
        Good: Kingdom

        Bad: you are the authority, you decide
        Good: know your place, respect authority

        Bad: God has no place anywhere
        Good: God matters

        Everything the Reaction goes against is pushed in the government schools. I know it, you know it to be true, because we were pickled in it from birth

      • Peter Blood says:

        And as the children get older, the contrasts in “how we know things”, “what do we do with what we know”, “what should we know”, between the Synagogue and what you can do at home are stark.

  9. spandrell says:

    I used to skip school a lot. My mother would call school and tell them some bs and let me stay home. I plan to do the same

  10. anonymous says:

    I’ve thought about this a lot, I just kind of came to this on my own, and I would like that to happen for my children. But the world is a lot different now, can I count on that happening for them? And – do I even -want- them to “grow up reactionary”? I have to consider- what are the advantages and disadvantages, in terms of life outcomes, of reactionary knowledge at a young age? Hell, what are the advantages of reactionary knowledge at any age? I mean, what, we know not to buy a house in a neighborhood that doesn’t have ‘good schools’? Um…

  11. Nick Land says:

    I suspect that any attempt to “make” children into anything is likely to backfire, one way or another. Once they are born, the most important part of the making process has already been completed. They have their own fate, to be protected as much as possible from the malign forces of social indoctrination and surplus conformity (beyond civility and the skills of practical cooperation). Encourage intellectual integrity, strategic discretion, and a respect for the supreme value of realism when engaging the challenges of life. If any positive idea matters greatly to you, it is far better if your children arrive at it on their own path.

    • Handle says:

      I agree with most of this, but not the backfire part. Does that not go against most of history, where communities try (not always entirely through conscious design) and succeed at making their descendants members of the community? Spartans were pretty good at making new Spartans. It goes against the Jesuit motto of ‘give me the boy for seven years and I’ll give you the man’ (see, e.g.). Indeed, does it not go against the intuition of the power of indoctrination, in childhood, university, and adulthood, for those who control the milieu of ideas – which is the very thing we are complaining about with regards to the Cathedral?

      Now, it’s true, I’ve seen a lot of ‘backfiring’ in religious terms, but then again I’ve seen a lot of ineptness at that effort. The mormons have a more reliable system. Also, somehow, though I’m not sure I would call it a ‘backfire’ per se, but the intense and constant effort to raise me into a progressive didn’t work. Though it did work on most of my friends, especially the smarter ones.

  12. Jefferson says:

    Homeschooling is the obvious first step, but if you’re not Catholic, Mormon, or Orthodox Jewish, how does one find/make the sort of community needed?

  13. jack says:

    excellent piece, thanks for writing it.

    here’s the full text of “The Lying Game,” the article you mentioned:
    http://good-sentences.tumblr.com/post/70451365991/the-lying-game-some-truths-are-maybe-not-worth-knowing

  14. Callowman says:

    I have boys in their mid-teens attending public schools in Sweden. They went to private schools through sixth grade, which provided them with an equally Cathedral-approved education, but in a group of students from much stabler families. Both have observed that there was a big difference in divorce rates and wealth between the private schools and their current public schools.

    We have gradually rolled out more and more hatefacts as they’ve grown capable of handling them. I think it was obvious to them that the ethos of our family differed from what they encountered at school. When they were younger I made a point of telling them that there was no need to argue with teachers and other authority figures, and it was common courtesy to let teachers’ quasi-religious statements about feminism, politics and history go uncontested. This is of course not entirely true, but it gave them some breathing room to figure out how to deal with school, and they seem to have managed without too much trouble.

    It is also true that, despite its leftist reputation, Sweden is an ancient, ethnically homogeneous state and is much more conservative than the US in many respects.

    Homeschooling is illegal in this country.

    I introduced ideas about racial differences and ethnic resentment early on, since we live in the city and I didn’t want the boys to be naive about the anti-Swedish feelings immigrant kids sometimes have. I’ve tried to instill a sort of intuitive Bayesianism: use simple heuristics and observable characteristics to decide how on-guard you need to be about strangers, and then adjust your caution level upwards or downwards as more data comes in.

    We are quite big on sitting down for family dinners and maintaining an open conversational tone. Mama is not a feminist, so discussion is free on that front. The lads seem to remain interested in hashing things out in depth with me, which certainly contrasts with the embattled relations I had with my own father after age 16. But that was another time, and I had children much later than my dad, which I suspect makes a huge difference.

    This is a bit off-topic for a discussion of how to raise children who are open to heterodox ideas, but the thing I’ve been least forthcoming about thus far is my extreme recklessness with drugs and alcohol when I was a young man. In fact I’ve straight-up lied about it. Whenever it comes up naturally, however, i.e. if I notice they’ve started drinking – and certainly before sending them off to college – I intend to speak freely about my youthful misadventures in hopes of inoculating them against some of the stupidities I committed.

    • Handle says:

      Part of the issue is pure timing. You cannot give the following speech until they have achieved a sufficient degree of maturity, but in the meantime, they are absorbing a lot of corrosive nonsense in their formative years, and it will be difficult and painful to root it out:

      “You live in a crazy world where authority figures are pushing all kinds of crazy religious ideas,as if they were self-evidently true, and you must be very careful about publicly challenging any of those ideas, despite their error, because there will be very serious, negative consequences. You must learn to bite your tongue, smile, play along, and pay lip-service, endeavoring meanwhile to avoid being compelled to do so and thereby retaining your integrity as often as possible. If you want to find genuine paths to truth and happiness, you are going to have to frequently eschew mainstream sources, especially when there is any political or moral aspect to a particular question. Learn to find people you assess are reliable in doing this well, and I hope very much that I can be, and you will perceive me to be, one of those guides out of this unfortunate wilderness.”

  15. Callowman says:

    Hmm. Just noticed that the comments here are rather ancient. I came from Foseti’s, having bought in to your suggestion that we bring the side conversation over here.

  16. Callowman says:

    More hmm. The Foseti post was old, too … my blog aggregator seems to have had a hiccup this morning.

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