Friday, October 30, 2009

A Letter to the Child of Two Godless Socialists

Two of my godless hippie socialist friends are expecting a child. At first I was shocked by this news. I had assumed they'd see the world as too terrible and inhumane a place to consider rearing their own child. But more power to them for taking the plunge!

The sister of the husband sent out a mass email to all of our friends. She's putting together a book of our words and advice to be read by the child in the year 2030. I couldn't resist the opportunity for some good-natured ribbing of the only two people I've ever met who actually defend Hugo Chavez in conversation. I've changed the names to Jack and Jill to protect the (somewhat) innocent, and hopefully my response is entertaining enough to justify being posted on my blog.

If anything, I hope that this letter will find its way into the hands of other children who had godless communist parents... that would be rewarding.

To Jack and Jill's Son or Daughter
(to be read in the year 2030)

Being that you are the daughter or son of Jack and Jill, and youth rebellion being such a constant throughout the history of our great country, I imagine you are most likely now a nearly religious follower of the works of Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich August von Hayek. You are probably in your second year at The Booth School of Business at The University of Chicago, and maintain dreams of some day running a great American corporation, and being at the forefront of American capitalism and entrepreneurship. I for one, would like to congratulate you for your hard work, bold dreams, and I do hope you make those dreams a reality.

But at this point, and at your current age, I do worry that you might not see your parents for who they truly are. You might be angry at them for their political activism for greater (and all too easily corrupted) centralized power in government. You may be bitter that as an only child of two hand-wringing socialists, you never had a sibling to play with, or to push you in your many athletic undertakings. You may feel that your two intelligent and educated, but overly conscientious parents contributed to the infamous "Idiocracy Effect", first put forth in Mike Judge's brilliant 2006 film. I can only imagine how your relationship with your otherwise loving and caring parents could be strained by this scenario.

I'm not normally one to argue for the virtue of intentions over outcomes, but I think parenting is a bit of a different animal than most of our human undertakings. I also know that you will some day realize and come to terms with my basic premise here, and I want to challenge you, and perhaps hasten your arrival on what is an inevitable conclusion concerning your upbringing. We are all products of our surroundings and upbringings. Your parents are the people they are because they are loving and conscientious, and because they rebelled, bravely pushing in the opposite direction of mainstream culture, just as you are doing today. Regardless of how differently they see the world, they did this out of love and concern for you and the world you are going to be living in.

So perhaps now is the time to start putting the bitterness aside, and see your parents as they really are and always have been. Jack and Jill were great parents who loved you, and who encouraged all of your intellectual pursuits... even when they didn't agree with you. They made you who you are, and you are a smart, caring, and driven person. The world needs godless hippies to drastically change culture from time to time, and the world needs the children of hippies to help re-balance their excesses. Your family is an example of this progress, and make no mistake, it is progress. It has happened before, and it will happen again. But what you are left with is two loving parents, and that's something to be thankful for.



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