Dennis Prager is concerned. He’s concerned about all those conservative parents out there who raise kids to be God-fearing, gun-toting, platitude-loving conservatives only to have them turn out to be — gasp! — liberals. And as usual, he sums it up with a cartoonish simple-mindedness:
So it is sad when a parent who believes, for example, in the American trinity of “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and “E Pluribus Unum” has a child who believes that equality trumps liberty, that a secular America is preferable to a God-centered one, and that multiculturalism should replace the unifying American identity.
Well if your beliefs are little more than trite cliches like this, it’s no wonder your kids reject them.
It is sad when a pastor or any other parent who believes that the only gender-based definition of marriage that has ever existed — husband and wife — has a child who regards the parent as a bigot for holding on to that definition.
Perhaps those parents should think back to their parents and how, quite likely, they were opposed to civil rights for blacks, desegregation and interracial marriage. And how they thought their parents were unenlightened squares who cared more about their religious beliefs than actual equality and justice. This is a pretty common theme, by the way. Every generation goes through it. My generation can’t believe that our parents and grandparents could once have believed that whites-only drinking fountains were acceptable; today’s generation can’t believe their parents oppose equality for gays and lesbians. Welcome to reality.
That this happens so often raises the obvious question: Why?
There are two reasons.
One is that most parents with traditional American and Judeo-Christian values have not thought it necessary to articulate these values to their children on a regular basis. They have assumed that there is no need to because society at large holds those values, or it did so throughout much of American history. Villages do indeed raise children. And when the village shares parents’ values, the parents don’t have to do the difficult work of inculcating these values.
But the village — American society — has radically changed.
Yep, it has. It’s changed technologically, allowing kids today to get to know people all over the world, people of different religions, races and sexual orientations. So they are a lot less likely than their parents to rely on jingoism and tribalism to divide themselves from one another. They’re less likely to “otherize” those who aren’t just like them. A reasonable person would think this is a very, very good thing. Which is why Prager is so bothered by it.
Which brings us to the second reason.
Virtually every institution outside the home has been captured by people with left-wing values: specifically the media (television and movies) and the schools (first the universities and now high schools). In the 1960s and 1970s, American parents were blindsided. Their children came home from college with values that thoroughly opposed those of their parents.
And the parents had no idea how to counteract this. Moreover, even if they did, after just one year at the left-wing seminaries we still call universities, it was often too late.
Here’s a thought: If your beliefs are threatened by education, you should probably reconsider your beliefs. My old French teacher told me, when I left for college, “education is the process of disillusionment.” And at its best, that is exactly what it is. When I left the cocoon of my home in a John Hughes-esque suburb and began to actually learn about the world, I pretty quickly discovered that it was nothing like I had been taught. Again, this is a good thing.