The long sleep

Children, I should think, are guests in any house, and should act appropriately. If it does not occur naturally, some gratitude should be instilled in them. Granted, we feel a special regard for our own, and it would be wrong to torture or kill them. If we did not know this by some animal instinct, our species would not survive. But there are limits to anyone’s hospitality. A time comes when the welcome wears thin, and the little people (somewhat grown) should be off to weave their own nests. Much comes from overlooking this schedule, which as ever cannot apply to the superbly rich and entitled, whose nests are big enough to accommodate grown babies. But even among those, a certain spirit of adventure should lead to the occasional flight.

The quality of children is in abject decline. Partly I attribute this to their smaller numbers, compared with generations past. The single child receives no sibling examples. His parents draw upon a much narrower field of experience. Family customs lapse. Too, owing to the prevalence of public education, and the control of it by the mad and perverse, one must make allowance for intellectual disabilities.

Combine this with trends in entertainment and technology which leave that single child (whether he can read or not) with an extremely short attention span. He is unable to think any proposition through. For instance, the idea, “it is time I found my own way in the world” requires more sentence than he has patience to hear, for it may easily involve subsidiary clauses. Therefore, it is lost on him.

I am glad to see, from Tony Esolen and others, a revival of the notion that kids should “drop out.” Mr Esolen bravely focuses on the plight of boys. (Not that girls are unimportant; but they should give more thought to the unique functions of motherhood, which include the generation of babies.)

Most should get out of school for the sake of their own intellectual and spiritual stimulation. Merely going to university — where the moral corruption of their childhood is radically extended — cannot be the answer. It is true that some (I estimate one in twenty) could benefit from the specific forms of brain-training which universities were designed to provide; but any others who go there are getting in the way. A large proportion, upon graduating with their worthless degrees, will only go home again, often enough to parents themselves rendered passive by immersion in the drug and media “culture.” Dead loss all round.

Among the birds, however, and other animals, the settled procedure is to kick them out. Room must be made for a new litter, or for any other cause. One day the grown baby circles back, opens wide his beak for the fresh worm, and mommy tells him to get lost. (As I write, two young starlings on my balconata rail are discussing this very topic.)

God, or whatever subsidiaries He employs, invented hunger for a reason. It is a useful goad. Winter makes a nice clincher for us northern folk. Without hunger, no one would be free — free as birds, at least. We would all live like modern children, who expect Nanny State to assume parental functions when their own parents, as so commonly, fail.

I found that my own youthful experience with this goad — the need to find food and shelter, to say nothing of the means to acquire more books — was quite instructive. Once found, there is a certain relish in extending one’s independence, and shaping the immediate environment to one’s liking. Alas, most exchange this for the security of a truly boring and pointless job, and the social homogeneity of urban dovecotes or little suburban boxes, becoming, in effect, lifelong pensioners.

They weigh on me. It is not my business how they live, except, their distaste for freedom enables tyrants. I do not know what proportion habitually prefer an easy life and economic security to anything more fully human. I only know they are the overwhelming majority. Although it may never occur to them, the long sleep of inanition — slavery, in a word — is a choice. I only wish that, by their predictable voting, they wouldn’t choose it for me.