Saturday, March 09, 2013

Nick Clegg calls traditional family "absurd"

Nick Clegg is the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Britain. The Lib Dems are perceived as a centrist party, standing between Labor and the Conservatives. But I agree with the following comment from "Norm" in the Daily Mail:
As a young man many many years ago I thought the liberals stood between labour and the tories but in actual fact they are more extreme than either. The sooner they are condemned to history the better.
The latest example of this radicalism is a speech given by Nick Clegg to a party conference on the issue of women. Clegg wants women to be "free to realise their potential". But what does this mean? Clegg has decided that people realise their potential by having an upper middle-class profession: by being a lawyer or doctor or journalist or politician.

Therefore, Clegg sees motherhood not positively as part of how women fulfil themselves, but negatively as a potential hindrance to a career in the higher professions.

And so Clegg complains that at the moment it is mostly women rather than men who take a year of maternity leave to be with their children. Taking a year to be with her newborn, complains Clegg, means a disruption to a woman's career:
It’s heartbreaking to watch women who feel forced to lower their ambitions for themselves. And it’s heartbreaking to see fathers missing out on being with their children.

As a father, I find the outdated assumption that men should go out and work and women should stay at home and look after the children frankly absurd.
So Clegg has brought himself to believe that the traditional pattern of family life, in which a mother looks after her children whilst the father works to provide, is "absurd".

If Clegg is really so interested in the "absurd" perhaps he should consider the following:

i) It is absurd to assume that people realise their potential by being a lawyer or a politician or one of the other higher professions. In part, that's because 95% of the population will never be those things. So 95% of the population is excluded from ever realising their potential under Clegg's definition.

That Clegg's definition is absurd is brought out in the part of his speech where he talked about a visit he and his wife made to a girls' school in Ethiopia:
And despite the poverty, despite the conditions, the young girls we met there dreamed big. Every single one of them wanted to be an engineer, or a doctor, or a lawyer. One even said she wanted to be Prime Minister. I said I had no doubt she could achieve it.

To think that girls like those Lynne and I met in Ethiopia might have their ambitions crushed just because they are girls – that they might die younger and live their lives in poverty and servitude – is devastating.
So even Ethiopian girls living in poverty are being brought up to believe that the realisation of their lives consists in becoming engineers or doctors or lawyers.

ii) If it really is the case that people realise their potential by becoming doctors or lawyers then why claim it is heartbreaking for men to miss out on being with their children?

We're being asked to cheer on the idea of women not taking any time off work to be with their children, but at the same time to think it heartbreaking if men don't take time off work to be with their children.

In fact, if Clegg is right about how people realise themselves, then nobody should look after children. Even if we give the job to childcare workers, that is a lower rather than an upper profession. So the people who do that job never get to realise who they are. Isn't that then a fundamental inequality in society?

iii) Clegg's view is therefore absurdly short-sighted. If we realise ourselves through a higher professional career, and if being a parent is an obstruction to be avoided, then people will no longer be as committed to raising the next generation.

It is already the case that the number of women reaching the age of 45 and remaining childless has doubled from about 10% to 20%.

I doubt, though, if Clegg will be worried about the effect of his beliefs on the future prospects of his nation. After all, he has openly rejected the idea of a national good, or for that matter any kind of common good. Clegg likes the idea of an atomised society as he believes it allows for a more self-defining life.


  1. He's just another left-wing cretin that holds political office in our crazy world.

    Do these people ever stop and think about the fact that if their ancestors had practiced feminism, they themselves would likely not be here today?

    Mark, I also noticed that anti-feminist blogger Claire Khaw is now linking to your blog:


    I thought this piece might interest you, given your travails with Melbourne Catholicism.

  3. If they were men taking leave then it wouldn't be maternity leave. It would be paternity leave.

  4. I wrote my opinion on these two modern enlightened family models here.

  5. It's more of the typical hypocrisy, really. Heartbreaking for men not to be with their kids, but heartbreaking for women to choose to be. That's just digging at men, full stop, really.

    The broader problem, of course, is that the "programme", as you rightly point out here and as I have done elsewhere in the past, is oriented around the apex of society - the top 5-10%. These people tend to think "if everyone could just be like us, everyone would be alright, and the reason why there are social problems among the plebs is because they are not like us enough".

    The problem is -- by definition, not everone *can* be "like us". It takes a combination of brains, drive, luck, connections, upbringing, environment, family life and so on to create people "like us". These are not, and never will be, evenly distributed. So to have a philosophy, a worldview, oriented around self-actualization for people who are "like us or who should be more like us" fails for most of the population, who, in any model, are going to be bog standard average.

    The result is social rules and expectations being set around the apex people, and then the same apex people chiding the "rest of society" for failing to win at a game that only the apex can win.

    Clearly things worked better as a society when the social/economic rules were oriented around Joe and Jane Average, and what they could achieve, rather than freeing everything up radically so that the most talented and gifted in other ways could rise to the very top, while the average languished. This is not only economically, it is socially as well. They go hand in hand.

    As long as we have elites obsessed with trying to get everyone else to be like the elites, we will have extreme dysfunction. The role of the elite class -- however it is selected -- is to recognize that it has a special role to play, and that isn't replicating itself among the masses -- because it can't really be done. The role is to set the tone for behaviors that are socially beneficial for all classes. They think that this is what they are doing when they talk like Clegg has, but all they have done is made it obvious how little they understand about what average people need to form and maintain families, as compared to what two City firm lawyers need to do so. And as long as there is that reluctance to admit that the rules should be built around the average and not around the elite, and that instead everyone should become elite, we will have this kind of trashy, dysfunctional gibberish streaming from the mouths of our elites.

  6. Well put, Brendan. Feminists are wont to complain that fashion models set unattainable standards for beauty, but no one seems to mind when a man like Clegg sets unattainable standards for career success. As I typed the word "career," I thought how absurd that was. Most people do not have "careers"; they have jobs. Boring, unglamorous, low-paying jobs. For the vast majority of women, the choice is not between high-powered lawyer and stay-at-home mom, it is between cashier and stay-at-home mom.

    But here's the bottom line: if you're a British couple in a traditional relationship, when the next election rolls round, remember that Nick Clegg said you are absurd.

  7. Most men and women have jobs, not "careers", I agree JMSmith.

  8. Plus high taxation/socialism policies is basically the truly super rich elitists liberals like Bill Gates, who can avoid such taxes, taking money away from the upper middle class liberals and giving it as welfare to the lower class minorities/immigrants such as Blacks and Hispanics.

    I would say to upper middle class liberals to stop playing their games. They are well-off, but they aren't segregated enough to avoid the downfalls of immigration and diversity.

  9. But here's the bottom line: if you're a British couple in a traditional relationship, when the next election rolls round, remember that Nick Clegg said you are absurd.

    To Anglo liberals, the private and the public can't be interconnected and don't matter. I say that private activities have public consequences and that yes, sometimes, the private and the public are interconnected, albeit in odd ways.

  10. I'm sickened by how elitist liberals like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates hide their money either overseas and in charities.

    That's why they always accuse us of hypocrisy and of these type of things.

    It's because they engage in it. Projection much?

    It's always projection with modern liberals.

  11. I'm thinking directing our focus to the three following classes below is a good point:

    1 - Underclass minorities such as Blacks & Hispanics (exceptions don't matter as much and should not be used as excuses)

    2 - Super rich elitist liberals such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

    3 - Upper middle class urban liberals (usually white liberal or Asian).

    This about sums it up. Number #1 provides the protests, the violence and hostility, Number #2 provides funding and money, whereas Number #3 provides the worldview and culture of liberalism.

    Any ideas on how to approach each of these three groups? And how to defeat them?

  12. The idea that those Ethiopian girls are going to be engineers, doctors, lawyers, or prime ministers is frankly absurd.

  13. You know a civilization is in decline when the normal thing is considered absurd while the absurd thing (men marrying men, for example) is considered normal.

  14. Clegg, I seem to recall was the person who raised the rainbow flag above 10 Downing Street and pronounced that indulging in sexual behaviour with someone of ones own sex was 'normal'.

  15. May I also say, and I know I am not the only person to comment here who is a lawyer, that the idea that pracising law is some kind of way of fulfilling ones potential (say rather than being a plumber) when in fact most of he time it is highly stressful in a way one would not wish on ones worst enemy, nowhere near as well paid as the man in the street imagines and at least, in my case entirely insecure, seems to be lost on the former arsonist Clegg. The idea that spending ones life either attempting to achieve acquitals for low-lifes or any of the other mundane things lawyers do is some kind of empowerment strikes me as delusional - but then I never wanted to go into law - forced in by parents who had ideas perhaps not unlike Clegg. So who does Clegg think is going to fix the plumbing and clean the streets? - well obviously not the women, and who does he think wants to marry men who stay at home all the time to look after the children - no woman I have ever known.