In a previous post Mark Moncrieff (of Upon Hope) observed that,
I think the most important word here is the word "raise", children need to be raised. But "being free to be whoever they want to be" implies that children can raise themselves.
It's a good insight and led me to respond as follows:
That's a good way of putting it. And you can imagine why this is so. If you are a liberal and you think that there are no objectives purposes in life and that people should just "be themselves" however they see fit, then there is little purpose to parenting your child - there is nothing definite to raise them toward. Parenting just comes to mean accepting unconditionally. Not imposing anything. Giving the child confidence to "be anything you care to be". The parents are just there to ferry the child around as a kind of support crew, rather than transmitting culture, identity, purpose, wisdom, values.
As it happens a news item appeared last week to illustrate concretely how this works. A Canadian mother is raising her son to be gender fluid. Look at how she explains her decision:
I want my son to grow up knowing he has a voice. Grow up knowing he can do and be ANYTHING he wants to be in this world.
Because I am the parent he needs me to be, he knows ... That me and his father will love him without fail.
Some days he says he wants to be a girl with a vagina and we simply tell him, “When you’re an adult, you can certainly make the decision to change to that if you wish”. ...We support our child in whoever they are and look forward to seeing how their gender expression manifests as they age.
Here we have the logic of liberal parenting set out openly. First, the belief that the highest principle is one of being self-determined or self-defined, as when she says that she wants her son to "Grow up knowing he can do and be ANYTHING he wants to be in this world."
This leads her to the idea that her role is not to interfere with who the child becomes, but instead to take the "support crew" role ("We support our child in whoever they are").
The assumption is that the child will become "the best version of themselves" by himself alone; that he will, in Mark Moncrieff's words, raise himself while his parents look on with interest.
One final point. The father is partly at fault here. Mothers have an instinct to give unconditional love to their children, fathers have a stronger instinct to socialise their sons toward a successful manhood. The father in this case is not even trying.
|Father and son|