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Christmas words from your betters

It is no secret that I think Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, is a twit and indeed possessed of some very destructive and morally inexcusable views (why mess around with fiddly things like moral culpability or moral choice leading to charity when you have state power to simply take and redistribute, eh?).

Well I suppose his latest utterances should come as no surprise then…

Children are being forced to grow up too quickly in a culture which refuses to recognise that human beings are naturally dependent on one another, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned today.

Dr Rowan Williams condemned the pressure on children to become “active little consumers and performers” at the earliest opportunity.

Never mind the fact our culture works hard to infantalise adults and the notion of a profound differentiation between childhood and adulthood is a very modern and rather weird idea. But as he is an unabashed statist leftie. I can see how fostering a sense of dependence would appeal to such a person and it is to be expected he would deprecate the fact many people hold up independence from others as a virtue.

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29 comments to Christmas words from your betters

  • indigomyth

    One of the things that grated with me, was the condemnation of pursuit of material wealth, over a sense of “community”.

  • I suppose it’s not worth pointing out that the very phenomenon of “adolescence” is less than a century old.

    Twit.

  • I expect my children to be adults from the moment they can distinguish between “Yeah” and “Yes, Mother!”.
    I also protect them from the ideas of phony spiritual leaders like the public schools, Obama, the UN, and Williams so that they can remain children longer than many of their contemporaries.
    I expect them to perform their duties and consume their vegetables.
    The Archbish just likes to kiss his own ***. As usual, idiots like this give christianity a bad name.

  • veryretired

    While I realize that you do not have the same constitutional barrier in Britain between the state and an establishment of religion, there is an ongoing fuss on this side of the Atlantic about this question, i.e., the supposed “wall of seperation” between church and state.

    Almost exclusively, this wall works to prevent religious people from using public venues to express various forms of “religiosity”, such as manger scenes in the public square, or, recently, putting the ten commandments in a courthouse.

    Of course, the big case a few decades ago which really kicked things off was about prayer in the public schools, which was a common thing when I was a kid, but was ruled to be illegal.

    Strangely, however, the true, and most pervasive, comingling of church and state is rarely mentioned—the relentless adoption of religiously inspired charitable activities by the state in the name of “compassion” or some politicized version of “thy brother’s keeper”.

    With the continued applause of religious organizations in their ears, pols of verious stripes have spent over a century legislating the so-called “progressive” agenda onto the backs of productive citizens, one brick of taxation at a time, until the economies of the west are staggering under the burden of a requirement to be all things to all people.

    Some people are amazed at the current alliance between the collectivist camp and radical islam in their combined assault on western culture, but this is only a variation in the long-standing tendency for those political to form coalitions with receptive religious types.

    In this case, the mutual enmity towards capitalism and individualism is the ideological glue that holds an otherwise odd seeming alliance together.

    Anyway, at some point, perhaps when the bill for the latest medical takeover comes due, the citizens who have been guilted into going along with this deal will get tired of being tithed two and three and five times over by a bunch of sanctimonious pols and aging reverends, and finally say they’ve had enough.

    Now, that would be a true Christmas miracle.

  • Yes, the sooner the Welsh Wizard (or is that Druid?) retires and John Sentamu is translated to Canterbury, the better.

  • Verity

    Edward King – Absolutely.

  • A modest proposal from across the Atlantic: some time ago BBC reported, quite seriously, on the British Childfree Society, dedicated, so far as I could tell, to the extinction of the species in the British isles. If all were to join, the good archbishop’s worries would be happily resolved. If only those of his religious persuasion joined, one has the feeling he would be good with that too…

    See “Save waste, stay childfree”:

    http://vulgarmorality.wordpress.com/2006/04/04/311/

  • chuck

    and indeed possessed

    I think you could have left it at that.

  • Bring back the Vicar of Bray, an honest hypocrite.

  • IF ONLY the people who hated humanity and civilization and mankind and history remained childfree! Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d! Pun intended.
    BTW-that was good stuff veryretired.

  • Rich Rostrom

    We infantilize adults by prolonging adolescence and by encouraging a self-centered self-indulgent philosophy of life.

    We adultify children buy encouraging them to assert adult autonomy and traits for which they are not fitted.

    Worst of both worlds, really.

  • frak

    At the age of 13 (Bar Mitzvah/other holy rites are often at this age) or so, you become a young adult and should start making most minor and some major decisions about your own life, usually under the advisement (but not usually subject to the decisions) of your parents. At this age, it is appropriate to start training for your first job and formal education should largely be unique to the individual starting at that age to train for that purpose.

    Currently, though, at the age of 13, you just get started on the torture that is public “schooling”, which is really socialist and feminist brainwashing.

    These factories turn each individual into a loyal servant of the system through (180 days*13 years*8 hours) about 19,000 hours of brainwashing starting before the victim can form fully rational thoughts.

    Once each victim is loyal to the bloated, immoral, inefficient, corrupt, and growing federal government, convinced that feminism is God’s gift to humanity, dedicated to the eradication of private property, certain that dead white men are the cause of all evil in the world, believes that diversity is the third most important value (after socialism and feminism, of course), sure that the federal government is much to small to adequately solve problems in modern society, and convinved that religion has no value in our-oh-so-sophisticated modern society, he is granted a piece of paper called a diploma, which marks him as a product of the factory.

    I have survived this factory. I am now surviving the college factory. I plan to escape with a diploma in my hand and my political, moral, and philosophical views intact. I owe my sanity (such that it is) to about 10 deep-thinking/broad-minded friends, about two dozen books, and about a dozen blogs, including Samizdata.net. Thank you and may the factories that squeeze every creative, free-thinking fiber out of every American child in the once-free USA one day fall.

  • frak

    Amid my furious revisions, I forgot to clarify that at the age of 13 you just get started not on public “schooling” but on the last leg of it, known as high school (okay, so I’m a year or two off, sue me).

    The fact that I was not allowed to get a job at the age of 12 in this so-called free country when I wanted to still pisses me off.

  • frak

    Rich Rostrom,

    We adultify children buy encouraging them to assert adult autonomy and traits for which they are not fitted.

    I see absolutely no evidence for this assertion whatsoever, at least in my neck of the woods. What specifically do you mean?

  • frak

    veryretired,

    Almost exclusively, this wall works to prevent religious people from using public venues to express various forms of “religiosity”

    As an agnostic/irreligious Jew, I completely agree. Most of my friends/relatives can’t stand my view on this, but I have to remind them that freedom of religion is NOT freedom from religion.

    IIRC, the Supreme Court made voluntary prayer illegal basically because of peer pressure, which is…hilarious to say the least because that is a cornerstone of the whole freaking system.

    The bottom line here is that the Abrahamic faiths send messages that are contrary or at least can be interpreted in ways that are contrary to the messages of the “teachers”, so they must be suppressed by any means necessary. Also, unity is key and having SOME students pray and other NOT pray means that they disagree, which is a bad message in and of itself. In these factories everyone must agree and they must agree that the teacher’s interpretation of the book/history/science is correct. Math is the only safe haven.

  • veryretired

    To clarify—I was not lamenting the ban on orchestrated prayers in public schools. For far too long, the public, tax funded school system was merely the wasp school system, and that illegitimacy was bound to be recognized and dismantled.

    My family is traditionally roman catholic, so I was sent to catholic schools, and I have sent my children to catholic schools for very specific reasons having to do with discipline, moral clarity, and academic rigor, not religious indoctrination.

    My comment was directed towards the relentless demand that the state become the compassionate heart of society, usurping and replacing all private agencies and functions.

    Generally, this has happened with the support of the administrators of the various mainline religious denominations, who bought into the “christian social justice” movement, which required a great deal of state involvement.

    Because its dressed up in all sorts of allegedly secular rationalisms and justifications, this ideology is not perceived as a religious movement, even though it is very much in line with the long standing moral demands of judeo-christian thought.

    (Indeed, when marxism and its derivatives are viewed as heretical offshoots of christianity, their faith components become much more comprehensible.)

    It seems very clear that the enormous undertakings of the state to become the charitable provider of all human services, and satisfier of all human needs, has coopted the roles of both churches and faith-based community organizations, to the great detriment of both.

    The state is massively committed to a wide range of human services, which it handles badly, as might be expected when the motivation is political, while the churches are left with preaching a doctrine which has had its action element overtaken by the state.

    Many traditional churches are surprised and dismayed when their younger members desert them for the emotional satisfaction and community feeling of the evangelical sects, without understanding that this is a self-inflicted wound.

    The argument for a limited state, and the widest possible latitude for individual initiatives and discretion, is not based on some esoteric argument about political philosophy disconnected from the reality of life, but, in fact, recognizes that the charitable impulses of ordinary people motivated by sincere religious belief is an enormous river of good will that can do a great deal of valuable work to alleviate the ills of those in need.

    I have known many truly religious people and, contrary to the Hollywood “Elmer Gantry” caricature, they were very warm and caring in their efforts to help others.

    The bureaucratic efforts of some civil service cadre cannot begin to measure up to that level of personal commitment, regardless of the fancy rhetoric that’s used to sell the state programs to the public.

    Anyway, that’s enough. I didn’t mean to go on like this. My apologies.

  • guy herbert

    It is just astonishing that Williams – a man of some learning and 60 years old – can maintain such anhistorical tosh. People have always loved children, but that is not in conflict with the belief, almost everywhere, throughout almost all of recorded history, that growing up is a good thing, and children should take on adult responsibilities and capacity as soon as they are able.

    Perry points out the tendency of our current society to infantilise adults, sentimentalise children, and draw ever more rigid, arbitrary boundaries between the two. What needs more emphasis is how very recent such a tendency is: a little less than Williams’s lifetime in practice, though the seeds may be in a Victorian pretext for puritanism. The full institutional and cultural lock on Britain was achieved only over the last 30 years, and it has accelerated. Both the direction of travel and change speed are precisely what Williams says he wants, but he thinks they are the opposite.

  • “Bring back the Vicar of Bray…”

    Bring back Father Damien Karras I say. Let him have a go at Dr Rowan Pazazu.

  • I am reminded of Carl Sagan’s “A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.”

  • Paul Marks

    Rowen Williams then went on to rant about children abducted to be forced to become soldiers or sex slaves (indeed he went on about child sex for some time – perhaps he was making a veiled attack at scandal within the Roman Catholic Church, after all Dr Williams is losing both laity and clergy to the Catholic Church every day, and is showing signs of panic about it).

    As if making toy adverts (“trying to turn children into consumers”) was much the same thing as kidnapping little boys and girls for battle and rape.

    To say the man is an idiot (and a wicked idiot at that) would be to put things too mildly.

    However, there is a broader philosophical point to be made.

    Rowen Williams did the normal leftist trick of deliberately confusing civil society and state.

    Of course human beings “depend on each other”, no baby could survive without adult help, and no adult (on their own) could produce a complex modern society – no matter how skilled they were.

    However, Rowen Williams then takes this as argument for statism – when it is nothing of the kind.

    He is a classic example of the leftist mind – a mind that (in my view deliberatly) confuses civil society with the state.

    In fact statism (i.e. the use of violence and the threat of it) is the basis of the very – “children being abducted to be made into child soldiers and sex slaves” that he claims to be opposed to.

    I suspect that the next large group of people to leave the Church of England will not be the Anglo Catholics (most of this wing of the Anglican Church have gone already). It will be the Protestant “Reform” wing of the Church.

    These people are just as opposed to children being forced to be sex slaves as Rowen Williams is (and, unlike him, are the sort of people who would actually do something to stop it – rather than just demanding the government “do something” which is Dr Williams solution for everything).

    However, whilst not being “commercial” types, most Protestants within the Anglican Church can see that trying to sell children toys and trying to rape and murder children are NOT just different in degree (the position of Dr Williams) they are different TYPES of activity (they do not belong in the same sermon at all).

    And also, horror of horrors, most “Reform” people would actually like a discussion of THEOLOGY at Christmas.

    If things go on as they are Rowen Williams will be left in Church on his own – well plus a few other paid officials, and the tourists.

  • “Rowen Williams did the normal leftist trick of deliberately confusing civil society and state. Of course human beings “depend on each other”, no baby could survive without adult help, and no adult (on their own) could produce a complex modern society – no matter how skilled they were. However, Rowen Williams then takes this as argument for statism – when it is nothing of the kind. He is a classic example of the leftist mind – a mind that (in my view deliberatly) confuses civil society with the state. In fact statism (i.e. the use of violence and the threat of it) is the basis of the very – “children being abducted to be made into child soldiers and sex slaves” that he claims to be opposed to.”

    That is very well put, although I think that Eyan Sayet laid out a lot of necessary supplementary here. The root is epistemological – just as Rand (and Nietzsche before her) argued it was.

  • Rich Rostrom

    I wrote:

    We adultify children buy encouraging them to assert adult autonomy and traits for which they are not fitted.

    frak answered

    I see absolutely no evidence for this assertion whatsoever, at least in my neck of the woods. What specifically do you mean?

    The sexualization of children, for one thing.

  • frak

    Rich Rostrom,

    The sexualization of children, for one thing.

    I would remind you that in many cultures “children” entered /still enter into arranged marriages in their mid-teens, even as young as 13 or so, fairly often. At around that age, most people are sexual beings…being in puberty and all that.

    But given how vague a phrase ‘sexualization of children’ is, I can’t really address your argument directly. I will say that it is completely…unnatural for grown men and women to still be in the classroom at the age of 22 when most of the rest of 22 year olds in human history already have a few jobs under their belts by that age and have kids to feed.

  • frak

    I want to clarify that I am not denouncing education and if someone wants to take classes through his 20s in literature/physics/math/history/whatever strikes your fancy then go for it by all means.

    What I object to is the current system where to get a good job/good career it is pretty much necessary to jump through academic hoops through the age of 22 WITHOUT EVEN GOING TO MEDICAL SCHOOL/BUSINESS SCHOOL/LAW SCHOOL. The education feels endless, makes no sense, and is terribly wasteful of everyone’s time and resources. Only the West could (pretend to) afford it.

  • Indeed, traditionally through human history, people married in their teens (sometimes their early teens) after having spent their ‘childhood’ working in the fields.

  • Brad

    I guess I don’t get his point overall.

    Can the world be a crass, base place? Sure. Are children a part of that world? Yes. Is there a huge segment of the “free” market making huge sums of money debasing children? Not that I see. Our whole society(ies) is sexualized and is driven toward baser feelings and notions in general. Advertisements use sex – propagandists use fear – dogmatists co-opt man’s desire for security. The only danger to children is if they are not raised to think rationally for themselves so that they can’t defend themselves against those who wish to condition them. The failure isn’the morass that society can be but making children unable to cope with it.

    What does that have to do with interdependence? Of course we are all (with a few exceptions) interdependent. It is up to parents to bring a child’s mind to a point where it is open enough to learn and not calcified but not so spongy that any line of bullshit moves them to action (to buy crap, vote for “change”, or sign over their life savings to some two-bit snake oil salesman). Society at large can’t form a single brain, it can only be done by a concentrated effort. One can only hope that that concentration is indeed rational and not damaged, but that is risk of freedom. If Williams is asserting that interdependence means One Universal Brain with several dumb terminals then he is, of course, looking at things in complete reverse.

  • Paul Marks

    “society at large can not form a single brain” – I suspect that, in private, Rowen Williams would dispute that, although he might say “mind” or “spirit” rather than brain.

    I also suspect that Rowen Williams would consider the above “the true definition of God” or some such. Rather than the “silly notion of God as a separate being”. Which Dr Williams would (mis) describe as “the idea of God as an old man, sitting on a clowd”.

    Hopefully I am mistaken about Dr Williams.

  • Laird

    “The only danger to children is if they are not raised to think rationally for themselves so that they can’t defend themselves against those who wish to condition them.”

    Therein lies the problem. The word “only” in that sentence trivialized the core issue. We are now witnessing the effect of 3 or 4 generations of children having been subjected to progressive state-controlled education. Today’s children can’t “think rationally for themselves” because their parents and even their grandparents can’t. The result is uncritical acceptance of any brand of snake oil offered with apparent sincerity (c.f., undefined “hope and change”, anthropegenic global warming, the “evils” of capitalism and free enterprise; the list in endless).

    The Left has played a very long game and played it extremely well. I think we are long past the tipping point; there is no longer any realistic hope of reversing it. Dr. Rowan is merely a symptom of a systemic pathology.