They grow up no matter what you do


This is a good piece on how kids get sucked into the alt-right vortex, although I think there was maybe a bit much of an attempt to blame the kid’s trauma on an overzealous idiot of a school administrator. People join the alt-right without ever being unfairly accused of sexual harassment.

The parents’ approach was just right, in my opinion: dealing with it patiently, giving their side openly, letting the kid wrestle with it himself with only gentle guidance. I remember when my son asked for a book by Thomas Sowell for Christmas — I was anguished, heart-broken, wondering where we went wrong, looking through the yellow pages for deprogrammers, anything to break the chains of libertarian conservative propaganda. But we got him the damn book anyway, and we’d still love him even if he’d asked for Ayn Rand. Fortunately, he seems to have turned out OK now.

Comments

  1. Jeremy Shaffer says

    I remember when my son asked for a book by Thomas Sowell for Christmas…

    Did you at least buy the book used?

  2. raven says

    I remember when my son asked for a book by Thomas Sowell for Christmas…

    Did you at least buy the book used?

    I get most of my books from the local library.
    That way, I don’t accumulate huge quantities of books, most of which I will only read once.
    It is many dozens a year.

    Thomas Sowell or Ayn Rand is something almost everyone will only read once.

  3. Jeremy Shaffer says

    I’d like to use the library more than I do now. Unfortunately, the one nearest me is in an area where parking is terrible, and on days I can go means I’ll have to pay a ridiculous amount or park several blocks away and run a gauntlet of crowds gather for whatever activities are going then, which often includes a religious function or two since that area is also thick with several churches.

    As it is, I usually buy books new and, if I’m certain I won’t read it again or it’s a non-reference or non-gaming book that sits on a shelf for enough time, I just take it to one of a few local book stores where they sell used books for pretty cheap. That way, if someone else with a smaller book budget wants it they can better afford it; it also gives me a chance to buy books from people I know I’ll disagree with without having to put money in their pocket. Having talked to the store owners, most of the right-wing books they have to sell come from estate sales and the like and likely have never been opened.

  4. doubtthat says

    Man, I think about this a lot. I’ve got two nephews entering the dangerzone. The oldest one is 12, has a very tumultuous family life, and is VERY into not just video games, but identifying as a “gamer.” Very worried for him.
    The other one is 9, and he is a smart, curious kid, but his stepmom is a weird right winger, and he spends a lot of time online.
    Nothing bad has occurred yet, but I have my eye on it.
    Also, about to become a father myself, and I’m less worried about my own kid, but you never know. Teenage rebellion does weird shit to people.

  5. says

    I used to be a member of the GOP, voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984 while serving in the USAF, and then joined the young Republicans in college. Over the years I’ve changed and have left the party and movement. I’m grateful for getting out of that cult and have become independent voting mostly with the Democrats since they are they only party pushing back on the GOP.

    I’ll tell you that conservatism is a pyramid scheme and most of us don’t count, only the uber rich…and you aren’t number one or even number two in their minds. After years of struggling with political identity (an atheist/bisexual) I came to the conclusion I didn’t fit in and now I see the appalling way the party has shaped our politics.

  6. says

    I remember when my son asked for a book by Thomas Sowell for Christmas — I was anguished, heart-broken, wondering where we went wrong, looking through the yellow pages for deprogrammers, anything to break the chains of libertarian conservative propaganda. But we got him the damn book anyway, and we’d still love him even if he’d asked for Ayn Rand.

    I read Ayn Rand back when I was about 18. I actually managed to finish her doorstopper. I have read also all sorts of other crap. For lots of stuff I didn’t get beyond the first chapter because of how awful the writing was. For example, Mein Kampf was so bad that I only managed to read the first few pages. I have also tried to read various religious texts. With those I didn’t get much further than the first few chapters either.

    I think there’s some benefit from being aware of what crap exists out there in the world. As long as the reader is capable of even basic critical thinking skills, books like Atlas Shrugged should achieve the exact opposite effect than what the writer intended, because a critical reader should notice how the author refutes their own point. If the reader is a child, it probably would be beneficial for parents to discuss the book’s contents with their kid. Trying to keep people away from bad books doesn’t seem like a reasonable solution for me. Of course, when it comes to children and teenagers, it’s possible that some child can be too young to be able to read some book critically. In which case parents definitely should try to talk with their child about the book’s contents.

  7. Alaric says

    Also got a couple copies of some of Paul Krugmans books at the same time. Which proved to be a lot more interesting and gave me a better prospective on things. Funny enough a few years later I ended up campaigning against my old professor who got me reading sowell when one of my friends was running for state rep up here. So I don’t think I turned out too bad either. I think that copy of applied economics is getting old in your basement while I still have those krugman books on my bookshelf.

Leave a Reply