Parenting

Stupid Teenagers are Stupid

Not being a reporter, I have neither the skills nor the resources to discern fact from fiction in the Steubenville Rape Case. I trust that Stacy McCain has the right of the matter, and that the KoolKids from 4Chan (or whatever) are just desperately seeking lulz.

So I’d like to talk not about the particulars, but about the universal adolescent need to be stupid:

At the parties, the girl had so much to drink that she was unable to recall much from that night, and nothing past midnight, the police said. The girl began drinking early on, according to an account that the police pieced together from witnesses, including two of the three Steubenville High athletes who testified in court in October. By 10 or 10:30 that night, it was clear that the dark-haired teenager was drunk because she was stumbling and slurring her words, witnesses testified.
Some people at the party taunted her, chanted and cheered as a Steubenville High baseball player dared bystanders to urinate on her, one witness testified.
About two hours later, the girl left the party with several Big Red football players, including Mays and Richmond, witnesses said. They stayed only briefly at a second party before leaving for their third party of the night. Two witnesses testified that the girl needed help walking. One testified that she was carried out of the house by Mays and Richmond while she was “sleeping.”

Let’s break this down. A girl gets so drunk that people start making fun of her, then proceeds to go to another “party”, where she spends 20 minutes puking and then gets kicked out. Hey, we’ve all been there. The sensible thing to do is cut your losses and go home. Instead, she rallies for the third party, where two goons are charged with raping her.

Is it her fault she got raped? No, by definition it can’t be. Is it her fault she’s stupid? Yes.  Because getting raped is not the only bad outcome of her state. She might have driven a car and crashed it, killing herself or someone else. For that matter, she might have died from alcohol poisoning. Nothing good comes from getting blackout drunk, and even a 16-year-old girl should be expected to know that.

The boys are even stupider. Even if (and let’s assume that a rather gargantuan IF) they aren’t guilty of rape, they’re guilty of utter negligence and basic inhumanity. Inflicting yourself on a drunk girl just because you need your rocks gotten off is barbarian in every sense of the word: primitive, uncivilized, and not speaking the same language as the rest of us. A drunk girl is not an “opportunity,” she is a person in need of help, or at the very least, someone you should probably leave alone. Being full of beer and sperm does not abrogate these facts.

A deeper question: why is this normal? Why is a 16-year-old shambling around to house parties drinking herself to unconsciousness unremarkable? Why are teenage boys encouraging and reveling in their savagery just your typical Saturday Night? What the hell is wrong with us?

This is beyond “Rape Culture” or any other tedious neologisms that the academic Left would pin to whatever scapegoats they have in mind. This is about a consummate failure to instruct the young, to nurture in them the sense to know good from bad decisions and the will to prefer the former. We do not punish the young for risky behavior; we celebrate and envy them for it. We encourage them to have a good time, while they can, while they’re young, before they have to do the things that actually matter in life. It’s not about Rape Culture, it’s about Stupid Culture.

Look at all the fun he’s having.

Or Maybe Your Kid is Just Stupid…

The child-rearing pendulum continues to swing away from the helicoptering, obsessive, everyone-gets-a-trophy approach. We’re now starting to see psychologists say “You know what? Pay less attention to your kid’s feelings…”

For the record, I wrote something similar back in 2005:

Our modern child-rearing techniques seem focused on the emotional lives of children. I think this is wrong, because in the grand scheme of things, the emotions of children are transitory and relatively unimportant. Child-rearing should be about not the blooming of the child’s life but the coaxing into existence of the adult the child must become. None of the research-approved, peaceable parenting skills that the elite would foist on us are half so valuable as inducing a child to think beyond his immediate wants and desires. And I am unconvinced that this can be done without the use of fear.

Yes, I said fear. It is written that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. To this, I add that the fear of parents is the beginning of familial peace. the State of childhood is a state of constant physical and emotional flux. They are long on impulse and short on experience. Catering to that mind-set gives that mind-set power that it neither deserves nor can use justly. To make up for that experience, it is necessary for parents to set boundaries and defend them to the utmost. As the best defense is a good offense, a properly built fear of parental anger keeps boundaries defended, sometimes without the parent even knowing it.

Of course it would be foolish for anyone to rely on nothing else but fear to raise children. Those who do so rapidly cross the line from discipline to abuse. But child-raising without fear makes the child the ruler of the house, the child’s wishes the ones that gain the most attention, and the adults the ones who dread doing and saying the wrong thing. This is precisely the opposite of what it should be, and we see the evidence daily.

One’s child is a human. One has a responsibility to succor that human, to guide it and to teach it. The rest is middle-class anxiety, and I want no part of it. If Nora grows up bad at math, so be it.