Friday, September 21, 2012

Why did the ACLU stamp out a father-daughter dance?

A school in Cranston, Rhode Island, wanted to hold a father-daughter dance. But the ACLU objected and the dance has been scrapped.

The reasons for outlawing a father-daughter dance are interesting, as it shows the liberal principles we are all ruled by at work.

a) Making our sex not matter

Liberals hold that what matters most is individual autonomy - the power to self-determine. Therefore, whatever can't be self-determined becomes an impediment to human freedom. Our sex is predetermined and not self-determined and therefore, under the logic of liberalism, must be made not to matter.

The Cranston parents' association had organised a father-daughter dance for the boys and a mother-son visit to a baseball game for the boys. The choice of these events assumed that our sex does matter - that girls will generally be more interested in a dance, and boys in a baseball game. The ACLU felt that the school was therefore acting against liberal principles; what the ACLU wants the school to do is to actively overturn such ideas about gender.

Here is what the ACLU had to say on the issue:
The controversy that has suddenly arisen in a political campaign over father-daughter dances in Cranston is old news – the matter was amicably resolved with school officials over four months ago. And it was resolved for a simple reason: the school district recognized that in the 21st Century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games. This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of 'girl' and 'boy' activities and is contrary to federal law.

"PTOs remain free to hold family dances and other events, but the time has long since passed for public school resources to encourage stereotyping from the days of Ozzie and Harriet. Not every girl today is interested in growing up to be Cinderella – not even in Cranston. In fact, one of them might make a great major league baseball player someday."
And in another letter the ACLU states:
In sum, we hope that the school district will work to discourage, not promote, the sort of typecasting activities inherent in the baseball and dance events for school students.

Note that this is not just an isolated case of political correctness - the ACLU believes it has federal law on its side.

If there is an established ideology in the U.S. it is liberalism.

b) Diversity

The ACLU brought the complaint against the father-daughter dance on behalf of just one single mother. The single mother claimed that her daughter had no male figure in her life who she might be able to attend with and therefore she was excluded from the dance.

From the ACLU letter:
The variety and diversity of family structures in this day and age counsel against gender-limited events like this...reversion to a more stereotypical format results in the unintentional isolation of some children, preventing some single parents, and those in other non-traditional families, from being able to attend events with their children.

As it happens, the child could have gone to the dance - the school was even willing to allow the mother to attend with the daughter. But that didn't satisfy the ACLU, presumably because a father-daughter dance implies that the traditional family (one with a father) is a norm or standard. The ACLU wants a "family neutral" structure - one in which no particular type of family is given a higher standing.

Again, that's to be expected from a liberal organisation. If you put individual autonomy as your highest good, then you'll want a "variety and diversity of family structures" to make it seem as if you can self-determine how you arrange your family relationships. And no one choice is to be preferred, as that would then raise impediments to an individual's autonomy.

So the traditional family can't be preferred, as it's singular rather than diverse and fixed rather than fluid, and as giving it a higher standing would make some choices less valid than others, which to the liberal mind is discriminatory.

But the liberal position runs into considerable difficulties. One of these is that a liberal is likely to believe that each family type is as good as the other and that all that matters is that members of these family types love each other. But if true this would mean that there is no significant difference between a family with a father in it and one without a father.

It's a momentous moment in the life of a civilisation. If this idea takes hold, that fathers don't add anything to a family that couldn't be supplied by a mother alone - if people really come to believe this - then men are likely to drift away from paternal responsibilities. Why make big sacrifices if there is no benefit in doing so?

A community has to make a decision on this. The Cranston community wanted to reaffirm the importance of the father-daughter relationship by organising the dance and not surprisingly drew fire from a liberal organisation like the ACLU for doing so.


  1. This is not about "freedom" or "stamping out stereotypes". This is about sticking a finger in the eye of normal people.

    Do NOT give the Left credit for "good intentions".

    They are EVIL, EVIL, EVIL.

  2. Anon,

    Regardless of intentions, liberalism is the philosophy of the modern Western state. It makes claims for itself and it's best if we can answer these claims, particularly by bringing to the surface the first assumptions that liberalism is based on.

  3. I am not a betting man, but I wonder where I can place a bet against the ACLU. I am willing to put up some major cash that one of the girls of Cranston, Rhode Island, will not grow up to be "a great major league baseball player" in the next thirty years.

  4. Mark, liberalism does not care that its claims and assumptions are insane, destructive, and in many cases internally contradictory. Therefore attempts to answer them are pointless - and efforts to explain them as rational methods to achieve "good" ends are positively counterproductive.

    The way to treat the Left is exactly the way they treat us: ignore them and assume they are evil. Because they are!

  5. I've noticed three things in this case:

    1 - The same liberal people who harp on how the law is on their side, are the same ones who cry out about "legislating morality".

    2 - Family interaction should be minimized and children should be autonomous beings, preferably of a Stalin like state.

    3 - The use of exceptions to the rule, to once again disprove a rule, when if anything rules deal with generalities and not necessarily everything. In reality, few girls are anything resembling Amazonian warriors but feminism is doing everything in its power to create more of them.

  6. The ACLU brought the complaint against the father-daughter dance on behalf of just one single mother.

    Interesting. Are all out of wedlock births in the USA necessarily of the single mother type? I've read that a proportion (how much exactly?) of bastards in the USA are from male-female couples that cohabitate but can't marry (e.g. not affordable, too expensive) or don't want to.

  7. Single mothers seem to be either the unmarried types or the divorced types.

  8. I've read that a proportion (how much exactly?) of bastards in the USA are from male-female couples that cohabitate but can't marry (e.g. not affordable, too expensive) or don't want to

    If you can afford to live together, you can afford to marry. That's really a nonissue.

    As to the "don't want" to... many nonChristian couples, indeed most, live together for a while before marrying. However, they almost always marry when they decide have kids -- or if they learn they've already got one on the way.

    So yes, single mothers are almost always either solo-mommies, or divorced (usually by their own choice). In my experience, unmarried-but-cohabiting parents are very, very rare.

  9. In such manner is the new socialist man, who has no loyalty to anything except the state brought into existence.

    Unless God intervenes, they shall most likely be successful. Most modern people regard mind-boggling stupidity as a badge of honour, the stupider the better is their attitude.

    Many of them no longer think at all, not even at a very low level, not even to preserve their own lives. There's really nothing anyone can do for them, they must be left to their fate.

    They have chosen to become eloi, & like the eloi they will be devoured by their masters. It's too bad that they'll likely pull down the few decent people that remain with them.

  10. What troubles me is not the whiney liberals putting a stop to what other people want to do. What truely scares me is that no one with any testicular fortitude had the will to stand up to them and say "Go To Hell! We will have our dance weather you like it or not! We will not be intimidated by your threats of a frivolous lawsuit..."
    These pencil-neck meddlers, setting themselves up as the arbitors of right and wrong will be able to get away with anything as long as good people continue to roll over concede more rights and freedoms whenever "lawsuit!" is invoked. The organisers of said dance deserve what they get.

  11. I don't believe there is anything from the families organizing a private party father-daughter dance on an invite only basis.

    They don't have to invite the single mother who filed the suit.

  12. Mark, liberalism does not care that its claims and assumptions are insane, destructive, and in many cases internally contradictory.

    I agree. But I'm not addressing liberals when I write these posts. I'm trying to speak to those with a sense that there is something wrong with the direction of modern Western societies.

    What matters is that enough of these people don't just come to think "Well, I oppose the latest radical liberal policy as political correctness gone mad, but I'll go along unthinkingly with the general liberal philosophy of society".

    That is what has happened over and over again in the past 50 or so years. It means that the latest radical liberal policy gets a hostile reception when it is first proposed, but because it's in line with the general drift of society it eventually gets accepted.

    You can see this in the comments to the story in the Providence Journal. 96% of 17000 people were against banning the dance. But few seemed to be able to argue in a non-liberal principled way. Common arguments were "rename the dance so that it doesn't discriminate" or "it is intolerant to ban the dance" or "is this an important issue for Cranston to be concerning itself with" and so on.

  13. In my experience, unmarried-but-cohabiting parents are very, very rare.

    Agreed but this type of family formation is probably the best for the lower classes (e.g. the poor), since they can't get married. For the poor it's either cohabitation or single motherhood.

  14. Whence this assumption that the poor can't "get married"? Marriage - that is, the actual process of registering one's union with the state and/or church - does not cost a lot of money. What costs a lot of money are the extraneous aspects of the wedding ceremony.

  15. What costs a lot of money are the extraneous aspects of the wedding ceremony.

    Excellent insight.

  16. you think this and same-sex marriage are intertwined? after all same-sex marriage necessitates the removal of gendered language from law. parent A parent B 'n all that.

    maybe i overestimate how sweeping that would be (indeed some liberals would like to minimize it as simply a bureaucratic change,) dunno, but it's something that unfortunately isn't discussed a ton in the whole debate over the issue, from either side.

  17. A question:

    What happens to the teenage girl without a father girl? What happens when she finds out that she has been lied to by her mother, by liberal influence and whatnot?

    Will she have sex with an older man to fill the void or something? You know a 16-18 year old girl having sex with a man that is 24-35 years old?