Apr 17, 2022·edited Apr 17, 2022Liked by Rob Henderson

I particularly appreciate two points you bring up in this:

1) It's a luxury to allow your kids to languish in a carefree life. I grew up in an affluent family and area, and even from the inside you can see a distinction between the people different parenting styles produce. Obviously, in a situation of affluence, the way you raise your kids has to be a conscious choice of whether or not you choose to give into that luxury.

Often those that had expectations—regardless of their income—of their kids to do housework, get jobs, follow rules, and be a fully contributing member of the family turned out pretty well. That did come with a hint of "Take care of your mother when I'm gone". On the other hand, I also grew up with families whose philosophy was that it was the kids' job to play and explore, and the parents' job to work. The kids' lives were often devoid of meaning. As you can imagine, these people made difficult college roommates, and later, work colleagues.

2) Have you read Warren Farrell and John Gray's "The Boy Crisis"? You say a few things that remind me some of their analyses. Perhaps Milano doesn't fully understand the issue she's addressing is so much more complicated, but I think we've reduced men's role in the world to a single function: To bring in resources and money. That—along with the assumption that dad is obviously dying first since he's working himself into an early grave—actually seems more disconcerting for me.

I think your story about your taking care of your moms is a good example of not only the sense of responsibility you cultivated as a teenager, but also that your value in your home was more than just financial. Your contribution actually helped your family and made your home a more pleasant place for your moms to wake up, so they could provide for you. It's a credit to them that they raised you that way.

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Rob, the request/demand to “take care of your mom” has some resonance with Christian morality. Specifically, we are called to serve and protect each other.

Men, especially, are called to use their greater physical strength (if you compare the average man to the average woman) not to dominate, not to take advantage, but to serve and protect. To ask a young man to do this is to ask him to step up to what he should do as naturally as breathing when he is fully grown.

Christian husbands are called to lay down their lives for their wives as Jesus laid down his life for His church. Men could (and can) rise to this challenge. Or they can become ever more selfish and brutish.

Your training began when you were asked to step up. Stepping up was a great choice for you. Glad you did.

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My son's were always told this when my husband would be gone for a day or two. They never "had" to, really, but they took pride in taking the garbage out or mowing the lawn. It made them feel important. I could have done those things, of course. But, why? Now, as I've gotten middle aged and they are in their 20's, they could back off a bit, haha! But, they care, and isn't that what we all want? Caring, loving children who think outside of themselves?

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Napoleon’s Dictum, also called Hanlon’s Razor:

“Never ascribe to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.”

Groups of people often do things for reasons that most of the members don’t understand.

I think that accusations of malice may make it more difficult to get people to change their behavior.

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Apr 30·edited Apr 30

As the mother of two girls, I have always thought children should contribute to the household not in a punitive way but as a way to be part of the family, fully-enrolled. Very early on they were taught to make their beds after they got up. Soon after, around 5 or 6 years old, they were each given a small but daily task; one had to set the table and the other fold the laundry, tasks which they alternated on a daily basis and which took no more than 10 or 15 minutes. I don’t really remember why I instituted this initially, but I am guessing it’s because I think I wished my mother gave me some role in the house early on. She worked very hard as a housewife and later had to go to work when I was 12 because of my father’s alcoholism and his eventual inability to work. I wanted to alleviate her burden so I voluntarily pitched in but she didn’t ask me to.

Today, my own girls are well-adjusted and accomplished and self-sufficient. As they were growing up I was often amused to hear them talk about their affluent classmates - NYC private girls’ school - who didn’t know how to make a bed, fold clothes, set the table, pack a suitcase for trip - everyday skills - because there was a nanny or such who would do it for them. My girls took great pride in their self-sufficiency. They found it empowering. It’s important to build a ‘life skills tool kit’ from the get go.

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Thank you for the concept of luxury beliefs, its good to have this category, like a drawer to keep all our ‘nice’ things. A place to put them and hopefully forget them!

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Apr 30·edited Apr 30

The liberal speaks in angry tones of compassion; Rob’s Righteous indignation is altogether correct and deserved; the left luxury belief ecosystem is a carbuncle of erstwhile superiority dressed in the fancy duds of the social sciences. They are so very chuffed with themselves.

Is there a right liberal (libertarian) equivalent? By definition a conservative is trying to conserve something so they have a natural advantage in terms of escaping the pull of the latest thing: belief as fashion.

“ It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been committed for fear of not looking sufficiently progressive”

Charles Peguy, (who Rob introduced us to).

Do not trust people! Their good intentions, no matter how sincere may be your undoing.

“ when offered unsolicited help, run the other way “

“ the rich man is always sold to the institution that makes him rich “

Henry David Thoreau.

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I do think it's unfair to tell a young boy to take care of his mother. Being instructed, "you should help at home; you are part of the family and can be an important part of ensuring that this team runs at its best" is great as even little people can help around the house by doing chores, behaving well, etc. It gives them a sense of ownership and pride. However, I think it's wrong to burden a child by making him feel responsible for an adult's well-being. Young carers grow up too quickly. Stop parentifying children!

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I'm not sure I agree entirely with you.

Yes, teaching our kids to take responsibility and avoid being selfish is great - it is a huge focus of my parenting. I wish my parents had emphasized these lessons with me. I spent way too long as a self-absorbed teen, then later a self-absorbed adult. It took me a long time to even realize I had a problem.

However - there is a hint of condescension in the 'take care of your Mom' line, and I understand why Milano reacted the way she did.

Telling your son, "I'm leaving, so you have to step up and handle more household tasks" is one thing, telling him he has to take care of his Mom has a different tone.

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Luxury beliefs make a ton of sense to me conceptually, but I'm bewildered by Rob's ascribing malicious intent to the people who espouse them.

From the subhead ("The luxury belief class promotes poisonous messages in their aim to erode the remaining bonds in working class communities") to the conclusion ("I have lost count of the number of affluent people I have met from stable, two-parent families who are doing all they can to destroy the familial bonds in poo and working-class communities") and points between ("the luxury belief class doesn't like the idea of poor people getting an ounce of enjoyment from things money can't buy"), Rob's argument seems to be that the affluent are intentionally and maliciously trying to harm the working class.

I have also lost count of the number of affluent people I know from stable two-parent families, but I wouldn't categorize any of them as having malice toward the working class. Disdain? Sure. Ignorance? Absolutely. But malice requires conscious effort. And what possible advantage would they derive from making working-class lives worse? The idea that luxury beliefs have anything to do with a desire to hurt other classes of people doesn't describe any reality I'm familiar with.

Isn't it enough to make the argument that rich people have developed silly ideas due to lack of exposure to genuine hardship, coupled with a mimetic desire to signal their sophistication to other rich people? Why turn them into Bond villains? All these people care about is getting their kids into Ivy League schools. They're not thinking about the working classes at all.

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