Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mom and dad and the regime

A regime seeking total control of the present desires a radical break from the past. Experience dominates the present, providing necessary context to make sense of life. From experience arises wisdom, which resists the hubris of artificially reshaping man and his world. Experience accumulates as culture ages and evolves, but a rough continuity sustains one generation to the next. The older the culture, the deeper the past, the stronger the experience, the less likely a totalitarian regime succeeds.

Only the future is certain. The past is always changing.

Parents transmit experience—not just their own, but that accumulated over generations—to their children. Everything a child takes with him in his first forays into the world is informed by his parents’ lessons.

That is why every regime described above conspires to separate children from their parents. It can commandeer every other civil institution, but, as long as the emotionally intense link between children and their parents persists, the regime fails.

Where it can’t take outright custody, the regime prejudices the children against their parents, slandering them with various epithets like “bourgeois” and “racist.” Nothing works as well as calling them old because to their children they are old. The blank slate of the future overshadows the flawed past children associate with their parents.

As they approach adulthood, children naturally resent their parents’ wisdom and rebel against them. Many of them put their faith in the regime, which fostered their disillusionment in the beginning and gladly accepts their support now.

Children see the lessons of the past as shackles on their future. They’re right. But that is not a bad thing insofar as they really are shackled as finite beings. As they get older and wiser and learn their limitations, they appreciate mom and dad more. They are grateful for the blessing of their cultural inheritance. They feel empowered by experience—again, not just their own, but foremost that of their forefathers. They become contributing members of society, perpetuating that to which they owe everything. Which makes mom and dad most proud.

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