From time to time, a news story will pop up somewhere that perfectly illustrates the demonstrable damage that political correctness (and the liberal definition of equality) has caused to conventional wisdom and society as a whole. Such a story presented itself this week when a man named Adam Swift, a British academic and described philosopher, offered his thoughts on the societal unfairness created when parents read bedtime stories to their children.
Yes, bedtime stories.
Swift believes that being raised in a healthy family dynamic (one in which parents read to their kids) gives the children who benefit from it an unfair advantage over children who aren’t fortunate enough to be raised that way.
Swift has apparently done a lot of research on this topic, stating, “Evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t — the difference in their life chances — is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t.”
He goes on to say, “I had done some work on social mobility and the evidence is overwhelmingly that the reason why children born to different families have very different chances in life is because of what happens in those families.”
I’m not sure it takes an academic philosopher to understand why children who grow up in happy, stable families end up doing better in life than others. It might take that very type of person, however, to believe that the success of those children is harmful to society.
Swift fears that this gap in social mobility and equality will continue on for generations, and that it must be stopped. Luckily, he has a solution. Does is have something to do with encouraging a stronger family dynamic? Not quite.
“One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family,” says Swift. “If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.”
Brilliant. Let’s destroy functioning, healthy families for the sake of creating a “level playing field.”
Swift does realize that his solution couldn’t be implemented effectively, due to how messy it would get. Thus he and a colleague put their minds together to come up with a backup plan, and boy is it a good one.
Swift qualifies his idea this way: “What we realized we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairness for other people’s children.”
I don’t know about you, but as a parent, I definitely want these two brainiacs in charge of telling me what I’m allowed and not allowed to do with my children…you know, because they sound really, really smart. Anyway, back to his idea…
After deep consideration, Swift and his colleague begrudgingly decided that communities have to “allow parents to engage in bedtime stories activities” because even though it’s not good for society, it’s good for families. Private schooling, on the other hand, should be banned because its removal will level that all important playing field “without any real hit to healthy family relationships.” In other words, fewer smart people in the world will lead to greater equality.
God bless academia.
While it’s tempting to write off over-educated buffoons like Adam Swift as fringe, eccentric thinkers who shouldn’t be taken seriously, I would argue that his line of thinking is depressingly representative of the modern day liberal movement, even here in the United States.
Swift’s broader argument, after all, is that uneven outcomes are a social injustice. This was the very backbone of President Obama’s successful re-election campaign against Mitt Romney in 2012, and has been at the forefront of much of the rhetoric related to social issues that have come out of the White House and liberal activists over the past six and a half years.
Our political culture has co-opted terms like “fairness” and “equality” away from their traditional definitions, and have applied them to practically any circumstance in which one person is better off than another. This has allowed the American Left (just like Adam Swift) to totally ignore the root causes of the very real problems that keep people from becoming successful in life.
Emulating what works isn’t even considered. Instead, society’s achievers are identified as the real problem. Their successes and wealth are unjust, thus they must be vilified and diminished for the sake of equality. The logic makes no sense, yet it’s quickly becoming conventional wisdom.
What has happened to the American psyche in recent years is downright scary. People like Adam Swift merely compel us to open our eyes a little wider and realize where we’re headed.
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