Sunday, March 15, 2009

Did we make things worse?

I am by no means an expert on anything, except a small branch of mathematics. However, I have spent my life watching people and animals, and have come to my own conclusions.

We in the US prize the individual over society (until they do something really bad), and so are not very accepting of the fact that humans, like wolves, elephants, and most other primates, are mostly pack animals.

In a pack of wolves or wild dogs with a calm, assertive leader, there are very few fights, and co-operation is the norm. The common role for the alpha females is the nurture and protection of the young. For the alpha male, it is protection of the pack from outside threats, and control of the aggressive adolescent males.

The liberalization of divorce laws in the 1960's shifted the balance of power in middle-class homes clearly to the woman of the house. One wrong move, and the man could lose his family, home, and most of his earnings. The pop psychology of the time told us that 'fathers were not needed to raise children', partly to assuage guilt.

Is it not possible that the removal of assertive leadership over teenage males has made some of our social problems worse?


sobers said...

Absolutely. When you realise that raising young teenage men is very similar to training dogs (establishing early who is pack leader, violently if neccessary, and providing a well structured routine of positive feedback for good behaviour and punishment for bad) you will soon understand why Western society faces the problems it does with regards to its young men especially. All those principles have been turned on their heads. When figures of authority (where they still exist) are given no right to exert their authority, physically if neccessary, boundaries cannot be enforced as a result. Bad behaviour goes unpunished, in fact often gains the perpetrator extra 'rewards' in attempts to bribe good behaviour.

The obviousness of what steps should be taken, and how effective they would be in a short space of time, leads me to believe there is a conspiracy to actively produce the situation we now face.

Paddington said...

When I teach teachers, I tell them that one educational class should go, in favour of a dog-training course.

I also get my jollies teaching martial arts where you are required to discipline the young rowdies.

Anonymous said...

"is it not possible"

Sir, you are too tentative by a large margin.

It is not just "not impossible", it is a racing certainty.

And as for what has happened in non-middle-class homes, where there is normally no visible (or even existent) father-figure, expect perhaps an abusive and abusing current "boyfriend", well things are even worse, as everyone knows and some are beginning to admit out loud.

Paddington said...

Anon - I write the way I do becuase many of my friends are well-meaning, but fuzzy-headed liberals. I am in a discussion with a child psychologist right now who espouses the view that the best way to a 'nice' society is to give even more power to women. Just to be clear, I consider myself to be a realistic feminist - I believe in equal opportunity and protection for all.