If You Want a Conservative Child


Children-reading-001In my last column, I proposed some explanations for why many conservative parents have left-wing children.

In a nutshell, American parents who hold traditional American values — such as belief in small government as the basis of liberty, in a God-based moral code, that American military strength is the greatest contributor to world peace and stability, or in American exceptionalism, not to mention in the man-woman definition of marriage or in the worth of a human fetus — are at war with almost every influence on their children’s lives. This includes, most importantly, the media and the schools.

Here, then are some suggestions for raising a child with American, i.e., conservative, values.

First, parents who are not left-wing need to understand that if they do not articulate their values on a regular basis, there is a good chance that after one year, let alone four, at college, their child will adopt left-wing views and values. Do not think for a moment that values are automatically transmitted. One hundred years ago they may have been — because the outside world overwhelmingly reaffirmed parents’ traditional values — but no longer.

You have to explain to your children — repeatedly — what America and you stand for. (That, if I may note, is why I wrote “Still the Best Hope” and why I started PragerUnversity.com.)

Second, they need to know what they will be taught at college — and now in many high schools — and how to respond. When they are told from day one at college that America and its white citizens are inherently racist, they need to know how to counter this libel with these truths: America is the least racist society in the world; more black Africans have immigrated here of their own volition than were came here forcibly to be slaves; and “racist” is merely one of many epithets — such as sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, and bigoted — that the left uses instead of arguments.

Third, when possible, it is best that your child not go to college immediately after high school. One reason colleges are able to indoctrinate students is that students enter college young and unworldly. It is very rare that adult students are convinced to abandon their values and become left-wing. Why? Because they have lived life and are much less naive.

For example, someone with life experience is far more likely than a kid just out of high school to understand that the best formula for avoiding poverty is to take personal responsibility — get a job, get married and then have children — not government help.

Teenagers who spend a year before going to college working — in a restaurant, for a moving company, at an office — will mature far more than they would after a year at college. And maturity is an inoculation against leftism.

If your home is Jewish, Catholic, Protestant or Mormon, another option for the year after high school is to have your child devote a year to studying religion in some formal setting. The more your child knows, lives and adheres to the principles of any of these religions, the less likely he or she will convert to Leftism, which has been the most dynamic religion of the last hundred years. For example, it is a fundamental belief of each of these Judeo-Christian religions that the root of evil is within the evildoer. But it is a fundamental belief of leftism that people murder, steal and rape overwhelmingly because of outside influences such as poverty and racism. The moment your child understands that people who commit evil are responsible— not poverty or racism — they cannot be a leftist.

Fourth, don’t be preoccupied with instilling high self-esteem in your child. It is the left that believes that self-esteem is a child’s right, something that parents and society owe children. Conservatives believe that everyone, including children, must earn self-esteem. Indeed, the belief in earning — rather than in being given — is conservative.

Fifth, teach character. The left has essentially defined a good person as one who holds progressive social positions — on race, the environment, taxes, health care, etc. That is why the left, including the feminist left, could so adore Bill Clinton who regularly used his positions of power to take advantage of women: He held progressive positions.

If your child recycles or walks five kilometers on behalf of breast cancer, that is lovely. But if your child refuses to cheat on tests or befriends an unpopular kid at school, that is character. And teaching that definition of character is more often done in a conservative (usually a religiously conservative) context.

It is not all that hard to produce a son or daughter able to withstand left-wing indoctrination. You just have to understand that it doesn’t happen automatically.

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  • DownTurn

    They key thing is to admit to yourself that you have to indoctrinate your child yourself, and that if you refuse to, somebody else will, probably for the worse.

    You have to realize that the moment you let the child “form his own opinion”, you’ve already lost, because nobody forms their own opinion left alone in an ideological vacuum, everybody forms their opinions under influence and to various degrees everybody tries to conform to whatever environment he happens to live in.
    Especially young people, lacking the life experience to make their own informed and firm decisions, tend to overestimate the value of the “consensus”, and their main motivation to do something becomes “because everybody else is doing it too”. They wear the same clothes, listen to the same music, the peer pressure dynamic becomes the main driver of basically everything they do.

    I do not know the right way how to shield off your child from marxist influences in a time where the places of formal education have been seized and politicized by marxists by their “long march through the institutions”.

    I guess parents will have to really ponder what is more important to them in the long term, either that their child gets a valuable formal education and degree but loses their values along the way, or that they keep the values but at the cost of a less valuable education and job.

    We maybe already are at a point where these two goals have become mutually exclusive, so instead of trying to get your child keep their values through college, parents have to decide whether they want them going to college at all.

    It all depends on the parent’s priorities, on how highly they regard their own “values” and how much they want them to be passed to future generations.

    • BagLady

      I thank God you are not my dad. To go through life with no self-determination, with parents living vicariously through me, giving me no credit for any intelligence of my own and stifling my creativity would surely put me on a path to anarchy.

      All you have to do to be a good parent is to provide a loving, secure environment, food and access to a good education.

      You overestimate the importance of parents.

      • reader

        Apparently from the body of your posting here, you did not have access to good education, and, obviously your parents did not find the way to compensate for the lack thereof.

  • Jason

    It is so true. I was born to conservative parents, and until I was 17 I was a hard left winger. The most important thing is to back up your opinions with facts, overwhelming facts. Children, especially teenagers aren’t just going to take your opinions lightly, that’s why I didnt listen to my parents, they never gave me facts, they just told me I was wrong. Anyone would resent that, and I did. It was only cold hard logic, and clear examples that showed me why capitalism and right wing thinking was best.

    Show your children the failure of Communist Russia, show them how the Russians lived in poverty there. Show them how Socialist Europe failed (It’ll happen by the time your children have grown up), show them what big government spending can do to a country and a continent. Show them the failure of mass immigration policies all throughout history. Tell them about the dangers of Islam, give factual examples (I.e. Islam and India, the worst slaughter in all of human history, 80 million dead). Show them real racism, the Jim Crow laws and other racist policies from around the globe, and tell them that what is racist now would have made MLK cringe. Show your kids the superiority of our system, how it has brought wealth and is indeed the most equal system of all at wealth distribution. It is not enough to tell them they are wrong, you have to tell them why.

    • BagLady

      Well said Jason. The only problem is your country is on its ass under your version of capitalism.

      And as for equitable distribution, 1% of the population has 35% of the total net worth. Warren Buffet has picked up a cool $45billion while the country goes to hell. Whole towns are collapsing and the number of soup kitchens is increasing at an alarming rate. It is not the rosy First World country you describe I suspect, but then you do turn over 51% of your total income to the Pentagon. Way to go.

  • Sheik Yerbouti

    I used to worry about the leftist public school system “indoctrinating” my children and that I’d have to spend a great deal of time deprogramming them. But I don’t anymore thanks to the leftists themselves. Children aren’t stupid and can easily see a double-standard. They see teachers look the other way when minority kids act up in class but come down on the white kids like a hammer for the same infractions. When they see a “minority” student elected to class president simply because all the “minority” votes went to the lone non-white candidate, they are not too stupid to figure out what’s happening.

    And when they get lessons about how horrible white people have been throughout history they don’t instantly switch over to “white guilt” mode. Plenty of them seek the truth (thanks to the information age).

    But the real truth here is that parents can’t simply turn their children over to public schools and hope for the best. THAT is begging for marginalization and possible failure. But the real thing to watch out for is the way leftists punish white children. They go after their grades first and foremost. This is something they NEVER do to non-white students. That alone should be a real eye opener.

    • BagLady

      But the real thing to watch out for is the way leftists punish white children.

      Takes me back to my own schooling when I was in the minority. At the time I put the teacher’s animosity to me down to white on white. Later on I realized she expected more from me simply because of the advantages I had over the locals, and don’t let’s forget that teachers have targets to meet in exams and will push quite hard to achieve them.

      However, I would agree with you about the dangers of left wing teachers. They do tend to foist their own beliefs onto the children and this should be a definite no-no. Religion and politics have no place in education before post-grad level.

  • Mark Musser

    I would dare say that many conservatives may be conservative politically, but they are liberals at home in terms of training up/disciplining their children …

  • BagLady

    American military strength is the greatest contributor to world peace and stability,

    That is the point I stopped reading this daft article. Sorry

    • http://europa-antiqua-arca.blogspot.com/ para_bellum

      Nice argument.

  • S.L. Rachford’s Ire

    Dr. Anthony Napoleon wrote about this in “The Progressive Virus”. Your article is spot on sir. Thank you for a great read. Stay on top of the children.

  • reader

    That’s precisely the result of the government involved in the “equitable distribution.” Milton Friedman already explained – in a language so simple that even nitwits like you would understand if they only listened – that only market can achieve true equitable distribution void of any prejudice and bias. Angels don’t work for the government. Crooks do.

    • BagLady

      Except MF didn’t feel the need to resort to rudeness in his argument.

  • Smoking Hamster

    Defense spending doesn’t even make up a quarter of total federal spending.

    I know towns are collapsing. One small one is Detroit. That is what happens when you have one party left wing rule for 50 years.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/05/14/152671813/50-years-of-government-spending-in-1-graph

    • BagLady

      That’s as may be but I didn’t mention “spending” I said 51% of “revenue” which is very different. It shouldn’t be but it is true, and true of every country in the world according to the World Clock: http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock

      Systems now seem to go against all laws of logic and I wonder if we didn’t fall down a rabbit hole somewhere mid-20th century.

  • Jeff Ludwig

    Great article. Thanks Dennis.

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  • BagLady

    You mention American exceptionalism. Although there are those who would have it mean ‘superior’, I am unsure in your case. Here is de Tocqueville’s take on the subject.

    “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may
    be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar
    one. Their strictly Puritanical origin, their exclusively commercial
    habits, even the country they inhabit, which seems to divert their minds
    from the pursuit of science, literature, and the arts, the proximity of
    Europe, which allows them to neglect these pursuits without relapsing
    into barbarism, a thousand special causes, of which I have only been
    able to point out the most important, have singularly concurred to fix
    the mind of the American upon purely practical objects. His passions,
    his wants, his education, and everything about him seem to unite in
    drawing the native of the United States earthward; his religion alone
    bids him turn, from time to time, a transient and distracted glance to
    heaven. Let us cease, then, to view all democratic nations under the
    example of the American people”

    Then you mention marriage being between man and woman only and the rights of the unborn child, but then speak of the importance of small government. Surely matters of morality should be left to the Church and governments should get on with providing the infrastructure which was why we invented them in the first place.