Well on the average day nobody reads this blog, literally 0 people, but I feel like giving out about something that has been annoying me for years or in this case decades so like Whitesnake ”Here I go again”. I have already covered the fact that adults won’t voluntary put up with something like the education system that is a relic of British colonialism being forced on themselves yet adults in a number of countries make children put up with it so I won’t repeat myself here.
The Intelligence Scam
Whereas Professor Haidt called foul on the rationalist delusion in moral psychology I’m here to call foul on the intelligence scam when it comes to society’s treatment of children. Adults have so much power over children supposedly because they know a lot more and yet if the adults use what intelligence they have got to justify stupid, arbitrarily made decisions after the fact or come up with sensible and rational decisions in the first place then the child is equally supposed to obey either way. Whether the adults waste what little intelligence they have got and have a proven track record of failure; a perennially messy house, constantly unhappy children (because of substantive issues in the family, not entitlement on the children’s part) etc. or whether they have vast intelligence that is put to good use the child is again equally supposed to obey either way. Really then, as with a lot of things, a group has the power supposedly because they would be the ones to best put it to use to get things done but in fact they have the power because they best know how to hold on to it; holding onto power is what they want to get done. If a clever (objectively clever, not simply clever by the standards of children) child with stupid parents and a stupid child (even by a child’s standard) with (objectively) clever parents are both equally supposed to obey then the level of intelligence doesn’t actually matter. Parents, teachers etc. could just just drop this pretense of their authority coming from their having more intelligence and be honest that it doesn’t and that may upset the children but it’s the truth and there’s nothing the children can do about it anyway. In that fideist piece of rubbish Miracle On 34th Street the lawyer for ”Santa” (a thinly veiled analogy for God) asks the court to consider whether it would be better to have a lie that draws a smile or a truth that draws a tear (pessimist that I am I say go with the truth, whatever it raises) but when it comes to adults’ treatment of children the choice is between a lie that draws a tear and a truth that draws a tear. If adults are so keen to have authority over children let them get some moral authority by telling the truth.
The Phrase ”Acting Childish”
Contra the whining of a rightwinger on Imgflip after a meme I made about gun control was featured I am not ”an edgy shitposter who pretends to be a centrist”; I am a communitarian who doesn’t pretend to be anything else. This being said when it comes to speech as with a lot of things there are two extremes, both of which are pretty rotten. On the one hand there are people who think they have some absolute right to say anything; not simply to call things dumb or lame but to call their fellow human beings autistic as an insult and on the other people who wouldn’t want anything or anyone to be called any of those things (and not even for autistic people to call non-autistics neurotypical even though neurotypical isn’t an insult and a lot of groups have a word for ”people who aren’t us”. I know that othering can lead to negative stereotypes and discrimination but there’s comparatively little of that by autistics against neurotypicals, even on a per capita basis I would say.) My angle is that there’s nothing good about being unable to speak (dumb) while there is a neurodiversity movement saying that autism is a difference and not a deficit and when it comes to mild autism I’m convinced the facts would bare this out and so calling something dumb or autistic isn’t the same thing (and to use both of them as a byword for stupid is just idiotic. If dumb is already a byword for stupid adding autism as another byword for stupid is redundant.) The point is that the right position is to not be against every phrase like dumb or lame but not to accept every phrase like these either and acting childish is one of those phrases to not accept.
If a black American says to another black American that he is ”acting white” this is an insult. When straight people described things as gay they at times meant this as a byword for bad (as in low quality) but this has largely become unacceptable yet adults calling the behaviour of other adults ”acting childish” somehow remains an acceptable insult. Bad enough that this is yet another piece of arbitrary discrimination for children to put up with, worse yet that adults themselves often act in a so-called childish way (like when they lose an election) and ”acting grownup” is a good thing. It’s not the children who carried out the Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, the so-called Great Leap Forward or the myriad other abuses of dictators on the far left and far right. Perhaps acting grownup should be a byword for acting tyrannical while projecting your own failures onto people that can’t stand up for themselves.
While on the one hand adults will dismiss a child’s opinions since ”I’m older than you” when it comes to punishment a child knows plenty. Whether a child knows nothing or knows plenty and even whether someone is a child or not all depends on what is convenient to the adult in question. Greta Thunberg was dismissed as a child but when there was graffiti at an oil company depicting her being raped the owner said ”She isn’t a child; she’s 16.” and yet as far as Sweden’s voting age was concerned she was indeed just a child. At home or at school or anywhere apparently I was too young to decide whether to be there or not but old enough for adults to roar the head off of me if I so much as was perceived to have done even a minor thing wrong; whether or not I had actually done anything wrong. This was another double standard of my childhood; I had done something wrong if it was so much as possible I had done something wrong (but anyone could have possibly done something; possibly doesn’t say much) whereas adults hadn’t done anything wrong even if I had caught them redhanded. It was all completely arbitrary. In one’s late teens someone can be old enough for being tried as an adult but not voting or can do military service but not drink depending on the laws of that country. Adults put children in a crummy position then; the first 17 years of life is some demo for the main game which they tout as being far better (”feel like a man”, ”man up”, ”you broke the boy in me but you won’t break the man”, ”separating the men from the boys” etc.) yet the closer you get to the end the more trouble you can get in even though you’re still not a man/woman at 17 so according to adults you still don’t know anything.
Bad Demo, Worse Game
I had said that adults treat the first 17 years of life as the demo for the main game well much like Rise of Africa in Fate of the World the demo doesn’t do much to prepare someone for the main game. The supposed superiority of being an adult is another scam; whereas according to adults being a child automatically means someone doesn’t know anything being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean that someone does know something; adults will even brand other adults idiots automatically for following the wrong politics or for being religious (some theists think the atheists are idiots but I don’t see this anywhere near as much). School got people accustomed to being workers but hasn’t taught us how to make work more meaningful, the economy fairer or why it’s fair (if it is fair, which I doubt) that some have so much while others have so little. I no longer experience growing pains of course but the pains of childhood I doubt will be any use when the pains of old age come. School taught people what to think but not how, how to read but not how to analyse and so the internet is awash with ”Ha ha! This one chart says we’re right so we are! Checkmate other side!!111111!11!” when often the chart only kinda sorta says this, or the y axes aren’t even, the data was p-hacked etc. Childhood got people used to being followers but didn’t prepare them to be leaders (unless they went to posh schools perhaps) and that combined with such Mammon-worshipping economies makes it little surprise to me that our current crop of leaders are often little more than incompetent puppets of big money. Based on how people were themselves treated as children they know how to control children but don’t know how to treat children as people and not half-persons; the teachers there at the moment were themselves treated as half-persons by school so all they know is treating children as wild animals to tame, that it is the adult man’s burden to civilize the child savages. The bad treatment of the children of today produces the bad adults of the future and the cycle continues ad inifintum. Experiencing rainy days as a child doesn’t make it any easier as an adult. The difficulties of being a child didn’t prepare me for the difficulties of being an adult; being under suspicion all of the time for no good reason was obviously no help with losing interest in this tv programme or that book since my standards went up. I went from not having the vote to rarely being on the winning side in votes. I went from having no vote to my vote rarely mattering much.
What I am calling for is to treat childhood as its own time of life with its own strengths and weaknesses and not some practice run for the rest of life. Let children be children and not submissive workers in training, not as half-persons that either know nothing or know plenty depending on whether adults want to keep something from them or punish them but as full persons who either know plenty or know little whatever adults want from them. There is plenty of time later to experience firsthand that the world is unfair and that life is cruel; since children are supposed to believe what they’re told anyway then for them simply telling them that life is unfair should be enough; not having to make life unfair for them on purpose repeatedly so they’ll be used to it being unfair and being used to doing nothing about it. Let there be no more talk along the lines of ”childhood is only a fraction of someone’s life” when some people die in childhood and it takes until the age of 35 to have spent most of one’s life being other than a child and judging by 30 35 isn’t worth waiting for.