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March 23, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

As I said yesterday, Rachlin and Frankel’s immodest proposal for the state to march into delivery rooms, remove newborns from their mothers and fathers and hand them to someone – anyone – else, never mentions the science of parental attachment and is overtly a political screed. That parents are uniformly referred to by the authors as “genetic chauvinists” only underscores the point.

That makes it all the more remarkable that the two psychologists are aware enough of political reality to admit that their suggestion is utterly impossible politically, as it ought to be.

This plan is of course politically impossible, perhaps even repellent.

That of course raises an obvious question: why propose an idea that will never, ever be implemented? Well, as I said yesterday, Rachlin and Frankel want to make us think. Too bad they did so little of that themselves.

As if it’s not enough that they ignored the biology of parenting, they ignored the sociology of family structure and children’s well-being as well. With the exception of a one-sentence swipe at the fact that adopted kids do worse on average than those raised with two biological parents, they mention nothing of that massive body of work. So what do they make of the facts that foster kids and stepchildren also tend to fare worse than those raised by two biological parents? Who knows, since they don’t stoop to acknowledge the existence of that body of information either?

Interestingly, just a few days ago, a friend sent me a publication by Swedish researcher Malin Bergstrom. She of course is the one who’s compared the well-being of some 150,000 Swedish kids in various family structures – two biological parents in the home, a single mother, a single father and an approximately 50/50 shared parenting arrangement. And guess what. Kids with two biological parents fare best, followed closely by those in shared care arrangements. Nowhere does science tell us that children who are unrelated to their parents do nearly as well as those who are.

So why on earth would Rachlin and Frankel offer such a destructive and plainly unworkable suggestion? Because, according to them, taking children from their parents, at or near birth, will solve a host of social ills, most importantly racism. As I emphasized yesterday, I’m not making this up.

The authors tell us there would be four important results if their idea were implemented. First, everyone would care deeply, not about their own family, but for “the common good.” Second, “we” would develop a hitherto unknown concern for pregnant women. (You see, now we don’t care about them, but giving effect to their idea would make us do so.)

Third, the superficial connection between colour and culture would be severed. Racism would be wiped out. Racial ghettos would disappear; children of all races would live in all neighbourhoods.

This is wonderful news. I had no idea. It never occurred to me that simply taking a white child from middle-class parents and handing it to a poor black woman to raise would end racism and there would be no more racially segregated ghettos. What have I been thinking? How having a white child instead of a black one would make the black woman any wealthier is one I haven’t worked out yet. But clearly Rachlin and Frankel have, so I suppose we should just trust them.

Finally, the authors explain that randomness in parent-child relationships is, per se, a good thing. That’s because a child of poor parents might be handed over to Bill Gates, while Bill and Melinda’s kid would end up with a poor family and, well, that’d be beneficial too. Ahem. You see it would be beneficial because the Gates’s child would necessarily be so genetically superior as to make up for his/her environment. Again, I’m not making this up.

Now, perceptive readers have probably formed a question for Rachlin and Frankel. It goes something like this: “Uh, how do you know all these wonders would come to pass if we implemented your plan?” After all, since no such thing has ever been attempted, even in the more extremist totalitarian regimes, how do the two know what the results might be?

Needless to say, they haven’t a clue. They have no support for their absurd notion because of course there is none. They figure making entirely unsupported assertions should be good enough to convince their readers and – who knows? – maybe they’re right. But anyone equipped with even a modestly critical mind will toss this nonsense aside as the waste of time it is.

What Rachlin and Frankel’s article most reminds me of is the experiment proposed during the Enlightenment whose aim was to learn what human beings were like in a “state of nature,” i.e. separated from social strictures. The idea was to take infants and raise them with the minimum of human contact sufficient to keep them alive and see how they developed. Needless to say, the children so raised would never have survived. Strangely, it never occurred to the minds who designed the experiment that, in nature, human infants, like the offspring of all social mammals, receive a lot of touching, vocal contact, nurturing, etc. Removing that would no more demonstrate the basic nature of humanity than the man in the moon.

Like those Enlightenment figures, Rachlin and Frankel ignore the obvious in favor of a loony theory. Why the two would want to embarrass themselves so, I don’t know. My best guess is that the academic movement for “social justice” is so prominent and, often as not, so unhinged, that (a) no idea is too crazy to voice and (b) one gets points for virtue signaling.

That’s my best guess about Rachlin and Frankel. They so want to let colleagues know how far they’ll go to promote social justice that they’ll destroy the family – long a target of social justice warriors – to do it. In the end, that may be the explanation for this nonsense. Still, it’s worth remembering just how opposed to intact families some people are and how the strangest notions often take root in academia and grow.

 

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#sociology,# childwelfare, #racism

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