Skip to content

Indoctrination

February 12, 2008

I’ve written a couple articles shedding some light on kids and young adults that are engaging in an unprecedented participation in how this country should be run. They should be proud, as they are doing more for their country than many adults. It seems that some other parents are taking some questionable tactics to ensure this happens with their own children. CNN has a story about parents who are dressing their kids in party-flavored clothing at very young ages.

I have a big problem with parents who tell their kids what to think, and this seems to me to be a step in that direction. Like religion, politics is something that takes critical thinking and introspection that very young children simply do not have. Parents who indoctrinate into a political party from such a young age close the door on kids being able to make their own decisions when they reach that stepping stone of critical thought. Telling a child from an early age that they are a Democrat removes critical questioning of what a child will grow to believe by giving them that identity from the start. Rather than giving serious though as to how they feel about a topic such as illegal immigration, they will be more likely to come to a decision based on the party line.

As they grow, children need to be able to make their own decisions about how the world should work. That’s how they grow to be intelligent, compassionate, and passionate adults. As parents, our job in this respect is to do our best to give what information we can so that the child will be able to work through that information, come up with their own decision, and be a better person for it. Brainwashing a child to Democrat or Republican may help to teach those values, but it gives them an identity that they should have been able to find on their own. They’ll be less likely consider a candidate based on what they believe is right, and more likely to unthinkingly vote that idiotic straight ticket.

Think about it. Would you rather have a child that’s learned to think about these things as early as they can and realize that, for instance, Bush is a poor example of a Republican, or would you like to have a child that blindly supports Bush because he has the “R” after his name. I’d rather have my Daughter tell me one day, “Dad, I don’t think Hillary Clinton is a very good person because she lies, cheats, and has no ethics”, rather than have to explain to her at 13 why, even though she says she’s liberal, Sen. Clinton is not a very good person and then see my daughter’s confused look.

At young ages, children do not need to be handed an identity, even something that seems so innocuous as a party identity. Those are the times where they need to be learning to think for themselves rather than learn why they should call themselves a Democrat.

Speaking of Democrats, as a joke gift this Christmas, my father-in-law gave me a copy of Why Daddy is a Democrat. This book was the creepiest example of brainwashing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’ve only kept it because I will need something to hate when they finally stop making black licorice candy.

Advertisements
5 Comments leave one →
  1. Meggie permalink
    February 12, 2008 4:59 pm

    Very well said, Joey. This was something that I never really thought about. Children should be free to make their own choices and decisions about things. I guess, like those that breed hate, those that breed proverbial sheep should also reconsider what they instill within their children. I hope I don’t inadvertently instill that women should be neurotic freaks…although……

  2. February 12, 2008 5:08 pm

    Hon, you’ll no more install that women should be nuerotic freaks than I will instill that men should be handsome geniuses. 🙂

  3. Meggie permalink
    February 13, 2008 11:56 am

    Hugs.

  4. cassandra m permalink
    February 13, 2008 3:46 pm

    There is alot to think about in this post — good job! Do you think that wearing a t-shirt is brainwashing, though? One of the psychologists in the article made a great point about using kids as a billboard. That seems to be unnecessary (altho the I Only Cry When Holds Me is really funny), but I do wonder if the clothing amounts to brainwashing. It seems to me that if you live in a house with political junkies you pick it all up. The real tell is how parents deal with these kids when they get to the pre teen and teen years when the whole world is about creating an identity. This is the time when parents need to give critical thinking and some experimentation some space (with some discretion — every parent is entitled to some bars that can’t be crossed, like treating your rents with respect always). While I was raised very seriously Catholic, my mom told me the first Sunday after my 16th birthday that going to Mass was now my choice. And I chose not to go to the charign of my dad and grandmother. But 16 years of wearing the gear didn’t make much difference at all…..

  5. February 13, 2008 4:46 pm

    You make so many good points, that I will address them one by one, cassandra.

    “There is alot to think about in this post — good job! Do you think that wearing a t-shirt is brainwashing, though? One of the psychologists in the article made a great point about using kids as a billboard. That seems to be unnecessary (altho the I Only Cry When Holds Me is really funny), but I do wonder if the clothing amounts to brainwashing.”

    I absolutely would call it indoctrination or brainwashing, though brainwashing does imply a more malicious kind of intent. It will help me to explain why with an example. Many kids are told from a young age that there is a man, who flies to the homes of all good children giving them presents in the space of one night. How many children do you think, when they are told this at around age 2, think for a moment and go, “Pff! That makes no sense, Daddy!” They believe it because the ablility to guilelessly believe what an adult tells them is a defense mechanism for children that takes the place of the “learn by doing” mechanism that they start to use when their minds mature. Young children rely on adults to teach them how the world works until such time as their minds are mature enough to learn through observation and experience. Therefore, if a young child is told, beyond a showdow of a doubt, that Republicans are the force for good in the world or that Democrats are defenders of the common man, they will believe it implicitly because their minds have no other choice. Remember, these are minds that are so undeveloped that they don’t question Santa or the Tooth Fairy for a second.

    Take your example of growing up Catholic. If you were anything like me as a young child, you hated going to church. Was it because, after some thought, you didn’t believe that the idea of a personal god was a realistic belief, or was it because you had to sit quietly and in silence for an hour or so? The point is, even though you didn’t like church, you probably hadn’t yet developed the ability to question the world view that had been instilled by your Catholic parents.

    Now, is just wearing the shirt going to brainwash a kid? Of course not, the child would have to have explained to them what the shirt meant, and then what democrat meant or who George Bush is. However, how many parents who would buy these shirts for their kids would stop there and leave it be? I imagine few would. The parents think their worldview is exactly right, and won’t hesitate for an instant to explain exactly why Republicans are the best or why George Bush is a fucking idiot. And the kids won’t question that for an instant. That’s indoctrination. Even if the parent doesn’t relize they are doing it, they are making use of the child’s inability to reason for themselves.

    The real tell is how parents deal with these kids when they get to the pre teen and teen years when the whole world is about creating an identity. This is the time when parents need to give critical thinking and some experimentation some space (with some discretion — every parent is entitled to some bars that can’t be crossed, like treating your rents with respect always)”

    I completely disagree. By the time a child is in the teens, they should already have a firm grip on how to think and figure things out for themselves. Moreso, parents should have been nurturing this from the second a child shows curiosity about something. The teen years may be where a child becomes more independent, but reasoning skills can come long before that if the parents instill that virtue from an early age.

    When my daughter starts asking me what heaven is, I’ll be damned if I tell her that there isn’t one. I’ll explain what heaven means, how some people believe it, I don’t, and why it’s important that she makes up her own mind about it without having to believe anything about it right away. Sure, she may not get that right away, but it plants the seed of asking more questions and integrating the answers into how she views the world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: