Before I had children I thought I knew the kind of folks I despised.
People such as the overly demonstrative dad who uses his stadium voice while playing catch at the playground so he can prove to everyone in six counties what a hands-on parent he is. The overbearing stroller pushers who block entrances to eateries because thousand-dollar Bugaboos and Stokkes deserve their own valet. Before I procreated myself, I thought loud, bourgie parents were the bane of my future existence.
Such is the naïveté of the newly gestating. As my sapling happily incubated in my love shack, a new rage was also brewing. Little did I know my ire at other parents actually mimicked my political expression. The modern world is deadset against libertarian parenting, and it's high time for a playground smackdown with the real enemy.
It’s called “attachment parenting,” and although it’s being sold to the most fragile and naive group of people on the planet—new parents—it’s really the same old horseshit Marx and Engels apologists tried to shovel back into the horse when communism fell. Attachment parenting follows a list of approved classics: The Connected Child, Attachment Parenting, Whatever Happened To Mother, and so on. But don’t be fooled. They want to elevate the collective over the individual. They hate the idea that competition or market selection might allow the cream to rise. Their philosophy is simple: From the parents’ ability to the child’s needs.
The attachment commies try to indoctrinate you from the moment the ovum and spermatozoon slather. At first they make sleeping in bed with a warm, gooey infant sound like a symphony of shared familial bliss, nurtured and safe in the "family bed." In reality, it’s a bed that has ceased to offer a soft landing for some hard boning, and knows nothing of the word sleep for its elder inhabitants. Attachment parents are cranky, dogmatic and have forgotten the acts which brought their babies into being. They are unnaturally unfucked, and they will do whatever they can to goad you into their resentful zombie army.
Next, you will meet the attachment toddlers, sensitive flowers with all kinds of allergies. The most fragile of the flock will have been diagnosed with nut allergies from an early age. Now some food allergies are deadly, but for some reason an irrationally large percentage of parents want to force their "sensitive" kids into this group. When half your kid’s class is defined as wheat, dairy, and nut sensitive, you should roll your eyes. But you shouldn’t laugh, because sadly this group of imaginary invalids will take the rest of the class or school hostage with "potential" allergies that never manifest.
I write this as a sufferer of celiac. But you don't see me going on a tirade trying to ban my friends from ever visiting Roscoe's Chicken And Waffles, and lord knows I top off my girls with as much gluten as their lucky stomachs can hold. And neither should parents with allergic, sensitive, or needy children force an entire group of otherwise healthy kids to alter their lunch and snack selections based on their deficits.
But the unacceptability doesn’t end there. Next up are parents who have eschewed certain foods not out of medical necessity or hysteria, but as a function of their own political expression. Political vegans are the Scientologists of overwrought parents, and they make a statement with their collective diet that you will never hear the end of, because they like to state their case, loudly, whether you show any interest or response.
Vegans will rattle off lists of foods that are poisoning us with toxic toxicity, mostly because they were grown by Monsanto. Vegans are so sensitive they can actually taste the petrochemicals in non-organic apples from across the co-op aisle. They will ostracize potential friends and monopolize playdates rattling off unacceptable foods their babes MUST NOT come in contact with (Oreos, honey, corn syrup). And it’s all so that they can be down to earth and easygoing.
At a recent dinner party I attended, a vegan couple didn't let the host know beforehand that they were anti-honey activists, then refused to eat anything but raw broccoli. They brought out a Tupperware of foul smelling pseudo-Indian starch balls for their darling toddler after over-demonstratively saying a "prayer" of thanks in an overtly humanistic display of "aren't we better than you" veg-angelical poppycock. It was even more gross than the starch balls.
It was then that I had my revelation. When public schools in New York (which once took pride in being America’s foremost common-sense, thump-on-the-head city) seriously try to ban using terms like "Easter," "Halloween", "dinosaurs" and "birthdays" on exams, you know the irrational battalion of killjoys have the upper hand.
But if the attachment commies, the allergyniks, the vegans, and the congenitally offended are indoctrinating their spawn with an anti-rational bucket of goat vomit, what's to stop rational, liberty-loving parental units from blending a consistent ideology into our own child-rearing? We can't let the commies win, and if independent libertarian thought can offer a template into this most personal realm, it should be an easy transfer.
And make no mistake: The wrong sort of parents must be stopped (or at least given an anonymous what-for on parenting message boards; that’ll show em’!). That people often misunderstand libertarianism as unfeeling and confusing is no reason to back off your beliefs when it comes to parenting. Think of the traits that fuel your beliefs: autonomy, success through competition, healthy skepticism. Can you think of better ideals to pass on to blossoming minds?
No, not everyone is a special flower. If you have a quality that sets you apart from others, you should celebrate it, not denigrate your talents to make everyone feel "equal". The dogmatic attachmenters love the idea of "equality" and banishing "inequity", and their bastards will steal your kids’ toys at the park in the name of "sharing". I've always taught my girls sharing is a choice. If you don't want someone to have something of yours that's fine, but remember that rule when you covet what’s theirs.
More than ever, parents of ordinary children are emboldened to push for lower standards so no one feels bad, let alone extraordinary. If you have a child who is gifted, athletic, or artistic, their accomplishments should be rightly recognized, not only as a reward for their hard work, but also to serve as incentive to others to move past their current stations and strive for something greater.
This concept is a filthy one in the fragile biosphere of modern parenting. Parents who fear discipline also tend to eschew scoring in sports and awards that single out achievement of any kind. This is moderately tolerable in preschool, but when it bleeds into later grades and especially high school, it is downright dangerous. How on earth are modern moppets to survive if they can't get a handle on the real emotional marketplace that makes up life outside the nest? Your boss won't care if he steps on your piggy toes and hurts your feelings by firing you for poor performance and absenteeism. There are no gold medals for almost first in the Olympics, Kelly Slater didn't share his 11th world title with Owen Wright and Adriano De Souza, and I'm pretty certain Mark Zuckerberg doesn't send Twitter's Jack Dorsey a check each year because Zuck earned a little too much and frankly that's unfair.
In the future, when the parenting collective insists on nut free zones, scoreless athletics, and holiday-free childhoods, do the one thing that might run counter to your lone wolf individualism: Start a coalition! Beneath sensible button-ups and shift dresses you might be surprised to find an analytical army of rugged individuals ready to wage war against groupthinking nut haters everywhere.
Kennedy is host of 98.7 FM’s Music in the Morning in Los Angeles.