drowning man to coast guard: do you know what your problem is?

(hat tip to Mark Shea for the analogy in the title and the link to the column)

I can’t decide what aspect of this column about more women deciding to stay at home after having children bothers me the most.

Perhaps it is just how misguided Ms. Hirshman is about the value and impact of a stay at home mom.  Why staying at home to raise children is at all relevent to “participation in public life allows women to use their talents and to powerfully affect society”  I’m not sure I’ll ever know.  Is she really trying to tell us that to all of the stay at home moms who use part of their time to help in their community at schools and libraries and homeless shelters and churches and hospitals and a host of other important “public” entities are not “participating in the public life”?

And that says nothing of the value and importance of children being raised by people who are doing it for more than the financial benefits of running a childcare facility.

Perhaps it is the amazingly biased use of words like “pressure” to refer to the reasons mothers decided to stay at home while she stares down her nose at stay at home moms who are “doing the easy thing”.  Is she really so incapable of reading her own writings to see the distain she has for those who choose to stay home in her desire to see them “liberated” from it?

And that says nothing of the financial strain that many families find themselves under that pressures women who would otherwise stay at home to work.

Perhaps it is the complete refusal to recognize that it is indeed a matter of choice even though she quotes in her column the evidence that makes it clear: “New mothers with husbands in the top 20 percent of earnings work least, the report notes.” and “they are unlikely to affect the behavior of the highly educated women with the highest opt-out rates.”  Is she really so incapable of seeing that there might just be something to this staying at home thing considering it is the smartest women and the women with the financial means who are staying at home the most?

And that says nothing of… um… OK, I can’t keep up the format forever.

Perhaps, as an extension of the above point, the troubling yet odd libertarian mindset of putting choice as the arbitor of all government decisions…. unless that decision happens to be a traditional one, in which case we need to compel those people to comply with what the column’s author believes is right.

However, in the end, I think  commenter John Henry on Mark Shea’s blog summarized the column, and hence the err in it, best:

“All the progress I have poored my life into is being flushed by the rising generation.”

I guess when it is put that way I have some sympathy for Ms. Hirshman.  It is hard to see what one has worked hard to accomplish undone.  However, in this case, I think it is the chickens coming home to roost.  After the baby boomers spent a generation telling their parents that they don’t care about the collective wisdom their parents had to pass on to them, it is fitting that the following generation is giving them a dose of their own medicine.

Maybe, just maybe, we have found that life’s meaning has less to do with work and more to do with God and our families and we really don’t care that we’re undoing The Feminist Cause ridiculously displayed in the column.

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