One of the really dumb things about liberalism is its hands-off approach to child-rearing, particularly when it comes to “pursuing your dreams”.
The damnable assumption is that our dreams are always in line with our true interests, and our vocations. It is a blind-spot. It’s this blind-spot where Reality tends to come on like a freight train.
Dreams are not the self-generating things we believe them to be. Often the materials that make up our dreams are subtlety slipped into our minds by our surroundings. Our world is filled with social institutions, all making promises, all advertising their wares, all working to draw us in.
In a healthy society, these institutions are working together, reinforcing each other, building up our lives and helping us to contribute to the whole. But we don’t live in a healthy society. Instead these institutions are are war with each other, tugging at us and pulling us in different directions.
In this cacophony providing guidance to children is one of the more important roles of a father.
Clearly many fathers are letting their daughters down in this regard. What I see more and more is highly intelligent, well-educated women, who have everything that they’ve been told they should want, but who are miserable nonetheless.
The misery is usually due to their singleness and childlessness.
They’ve been sold on the idea that formal education is sufficient for happiness, that it is the ticket to significance in the corporate economy. And many of these women have done quite well for themselves. They’ve got some money, a title and so forth. But when they hit 30 years of age or so they realize there is something missing and with a stab of panic, they realize time is running out.
What got me thinking about this is an article I read from the BBC (notice all the scare quotes) about highly educated women who are freezing their eggs. They’re doing so because they can’t find suitable men to marry and start a family with.
Well, I suspect that the scions of higher education don’t see this as a problem they need address. It appears to reinforce all those things that are generally dismissed as sources of oppression for women: men, children, domestic life, and so forth.
This is why a father who cares about the welfare of his daughter needs to step in and provide a little guidance. That’s what I’ve done with my girl. Here’s how I’ve done it. We’ll see how things turn out.
My daughter is very bright. She was a valedictorian of her high school class. She scored in the top 1% with her SAT, not just in the language section, her math score was equally high. I gave her a list of schools I’d be happy to pay for. I told her that if she wanted to go to a different school she would be free to. She would also be free to pay for it on her own.
As expected she was accepted by the schools I recommended. It came down to two schools, both of which are highly respected, highly rated schools. One of them (the one with the higher rating) offered her a significant academic scholarship. When she was deciding which one she should choose, I took her out for lunch.
She’s a very feminine girl, and I know she wants a family. With that in mind I asked her what she was hoping to study. “Literature” was her response. (Of course, I thought, she loves Austen.) “And what do you think you’d like to do with that?” I asked. “Teach” she said.
I think she’d make a great academic. She’s got the flair of originality about her. But I had to break the news to her. “Sweetie, there is an over-supply of young women with PhDs out there. You’ll need something to fall back on if things don’t work out. Why not go to the school with the program in entrepreneurship and do a double major? You’d be a big help to your brothers,” (both of whom are planning to start their own businesses) “and even me. Besides, it is the master’s degree that matters when it comes to admission into a PhD program. And on top of it all, you’ll be able to help your husband some day when it comes to getting your own home business off the ground.” (If you have read this blog in the past you know how important productive property like a business is in my way of thinking.)
This swayed her–she declared for the “lesser” school the next day. She’ll pursue a double-major there.
I also let her know that the sort of man she should look for is unlikely to be found in a literature department. He is much more likely to be found in her program in entrepreneurship. I’m sorry to put it so baldly, but just look at the numbers. Most of the literature programs are dominated by women. I’ve seen the numbers as high as 90% female at some schools.
I hope you can see what I’ve done here, I’ve tried to enfold her dreams into a single vocation. I’ve also emphasized the primacy of the household in a world that downplays and even lampoons it. I’m trying to position her for success in a world where the oversupply of highly-educated women relative to men is something she’s going to have to deal with.
You may not like my advice. But if you have better advice, there are a lot of women out there with eggs in a freezer who’d like to hear it.
Here’s something else for you to enjoy. Wipf and Stock, the publisher of my book, Man of the House, has given me permission to share a little sample of the book with you. The hope, of course, is you will like it enough to purchase a copy. Enjoy!.
Click here to download the book excerpt as a PDF: Man of the House_Excerpt