Sunday, August 9, 2009

Parenthood and the evolution of society.

Being a father is something I quite enjoy, and after a couple of years I'm fast coming to the conclusion that, when the trial period ends, we're not going to send him back.

I think he'll be pleased with that. The Orphanarium is cold in the winter, even with the new candle.

I think, as parents go, we're not doing too bad a job. The main evidence I have for this (apart from the fact that I've rarely accidentally sat on him) is that my son takes us utterly, utterly for granted.

Sit down, and I'm a climbing frame.

Stand up, and I'm a pair of shoulders to sit on. This desire is indicated by him simply standing in front of me and lifting his arms up, fully expecting - no - knowing that he will be lifted on high to take his rightful place.

My dinner is his dinner.

My snacks are his snacks.

My computer blog time is his YouTube Pingu time ("Wanna watch Pingu on the 'puter!").

He is Emperor of all he surveys, so I'm glad he's only small.

Now, I'm one of those kerr-azy Englishmen who would prefer not to have a monarchy, or a House of Lords, and thinks that democracy is, out of all the bad ways of running things, one of the less horrendous ones that we currently have.

Being a father has convinced me that I'm right.

Hereditary power is wielded by those who haven't earned it and really don't know what to do with it. My son has complete authority over me. Just about everything I do is for his benefit in some way, but he hasn't got a clue. He wanders through life oblivious to our protection and efforts to provide for him, ignorant of how to act for himself, and in return he swans about like he owns the place, which he will one day.

I have enough hereditary impedance in my life without having to put up with it running the society in which I live in as well.

My little boy will one day become a big boy, and he will rebel and earn for himself the independence he will so desire. He will stick it to The Man, unaware that The Man in this case will be behind him every step of the way, letting him make his own mistakes without falling down too hard if I can help it. Maybe, one day, he will experience the same genetically driven pseudo-altruism that we call parental love, and then he will be truly rewarded with the shackles of independence.

I expect that society will, eventually, follow similar lines, and that we will outgrow the perceived need to have our decisions made for us. I'm not expecting, nor indeed want, revolution through extreme acts, unless they are extreme acts of wisdom, but I'm not counting on that. We will, however slowly, move away from that overly-paternal attitude that has developed to control us, and will one day reach the point where we can control ourselves.

We will, in effect, grow up.

It won't go easy. These systems are run by those who get a lot out of running them, who benefit substantially from the wealth, the notoriety, the power and the glory. Old fashioned notions that have no place in benefitting the individual member of society. Autonomy is a scary prospect for many, and not just those who would lose their status. Imagine being responsible for your decisions. Imagine being accountable for your own mistakes.

You can see it happening already, albeit in embryonic form. Despite desperate attempts to appear relevant, like denouncing Facebook, religion is gradually, but definitely, moving away from being a power in society to become a sort of hobby for those who wish to dabble. The old fashioned paternalistic idea of medicine has long been replaced by a more inclusive paradigm of including patients in their decision making processes. Politicians get beasted by a warped media so biased against everyone that any suggestion of wrongdoing is examined with a scrutiny usually reserved for serial killers.

Good thing?


Are we ready for such levels of self-determination though? Will democracy be able to evolve into something that would cater for general autonomy, where decisions are made from evidence, where rationality is valued above hysteria and loud voices?


These are not thought for a whimsy-heavy blog which I have on good authority is not read by the Prime Minister, although I've got a funny feeling that the Queen may be one of my followers.

You know who you are, your Maj.

So, instead I will limit myself to what is truly important, and carry on allowing my boy to steal scraps of cheese from the kitchen:

Look at that! Like a cross between a ninja and a cat-burglar!

Nom nom nom!


  1. I also decided against sending my progeny back to the Orphanarium. It's only when I forget about letting him be and try to mold him in any way that he bites back. Best to leave well enough alone and just enjoy the glimpses of awesome ninja power! Can I have some cheese please, Mr. Ninja?

  2. When he grows into a man (and he will), he will eventually marry and raise children. All with the idea that he will do it "right", unlike you. At that point, he will look back at his early years, slap himself upside the head, an say "Omigod! I am become my pop!"

    And you will smile benignly and spoil the grandkids.

    It is the circle of life.

  3. I doubt I'll read a better written, or more amusing post than this one today.

  4. CatLadyLarew - You're welcome to try, but I wouldn't risk my fingers! I think you're right though.

    Douglas - I told my son not to talk with his mouth full the other day. I am become my pop!

    Jimmy - Thank you mate. Praise indeed, considering the source.

  5. I took my son back, but the delivered him back to my doorstep with the lame excuse "He wasn't in his original packaging".

    What's up with that?

  6. Good morning comrad,

    Radical thoughts you're promoting here: self-determination, autonomy and personal responsibility.

    Can thoughts which ring with such truth truely catch on?


  7. Wow, what a great comparison, I never thought of it like that.

    I just hope Australia manages to become a republic on its own before England does. It would be pretty embarrassing if it was only by default.

  8. I don't want to be a parent. And, for the most part, I really don't want to read blog posts about parenthood.

    But I am overjoyed to make an exception for you. This was plain superb.

    [reading that comment back it all looks a bit Simon Cowell. Sorry about that]

  9. SkylersDad - Did you keep the receipt? Always good to have a receipt for 'em.

    U - It's a pity that such grown up concepts are radical, isn't it? Wonder if we'll ever change?

    Soda and Candy - I reckon Oz only kept the monarchy for funsies. It's so far away that it's just a bit of a laugh.

    Mr London St - Damn kind of you old bean. Check your trouser height for Cowellosity.

  10. Where does one apply for royal followers? I so, so, would love to see the Queen in a little box on my blog, although her face would necessarily be tiny because of needing to squeeze the crown in.

    Does it sound disrespectful to say I want to put the Queen in a box?

    Your son is a handsome one.

  11. Vic - Ta very much, I think so. Takes after his mum in the looks department.

    I could send you a letter from England - then you would always have a tiny box with Her Maj's head on it.

  12. I wouldn't mind you being one of our Lords.

    I appreciate the being taken for granted thing. Every morning the baby cries, wakes us up, we make her breakfast, change her nappy, wipe the weetabix off her face while she screams blue murder. No words of thanks at all.

  13. Nice and thought provoking as usual. Here in the US we need to work every day at keeping the government out of our personal lives. It's becoming a 'nanny state' at an increasing rate over here.

  14. Don't worry about it too much: when your son has a son someday, he will go through everything you are now suffering in lord-like silence ;)

  15. Mo - Cheers, but I'd worry I'd go mad with the power! And have you tried scowling at your offspring? That doesn't work either.

    Eric - Same as here really, although the sheer amount of snooping means that there is so much info available it has become too unwieldy for the authorities to use.

    Ladytruth - I'm a martyr to silent suffering, me.

  16. In China they call them "little emperors".

  17. What a great post.

    I find myself laughing out loud, as my own little beasts rule the kitchen behind me and dictate what is going to be watched on the TV.

  18. GB - With good bloody reason.

    Jules - lol at "little beasts".

  19. Aww, that was great! :) I think your son is a very lucky little chap ... especially if he got to eat those crumpets too (sorry, I'm a bit peckish)

  20. Parenthood in a nutshell. I used to say to my kids that although I will always love them, there are times when I don't like them. Sometimes that worked, not always.


  21. Girl I - Yep, he snaffled those as well!

    AV - There's no such thing as unconditional like.

  22. Mini tyrants are even scarier.

    Blown away by this blog, seriously. Oh and also laughing at the ukulele fetish, ye ole bf is the same owing 14 and counting.

    Im just glad its not double basses...

  23. Judearoo - Welcome! Glad you like it. And I'm a bit jealous of your hubby and his ukollection. I've only got 3.

  24. I loved the story but got lost on the big words.
    it seems political do you plan to assist with the fall of rome and the new zcars taking contol of our fellow timid peasant mob?

  25. Oh sorry they aren't big words, must be what us ignorant americans call proper english.
    still love it :)

  26. Check my blog out. You've won something.

  27. Johnz - Welcome! I'll try to reduce my syllableage. Oh damn . . .

    Mr London St - Ooh goody!


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