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Liberals and Babies and Trust Cues It's a War, Stupid

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Who Are You Calling Dysfunctional?

by Christopher Chantrill
July 09, 2006 at 4:18 pm


HOW WOULD YOU define a dysfunctional family? Probably, like Wikipedia, you would say “a family in which conflict, misbehaviour and even abuse on the part of individual members of the family occur continually, leading other members to accommodate such actions.” You would say, like the University of Illinois Counseling Center, that it involves parents with “addictions or compulsions,” that use “the threat or application of physical violence as the primary means of control.”

But then the good people at the UI Counseling Center add another kind of family, the kind that “rigidly adhere[s] to a particular belief (religious, political, financial, personal). Compliance with role expectations and with rules is expected without any flexibility.” They must be referring to liberal feminist mothers that force their daughters to play Little League baseball with the boys.

Of course, they aren’t. The dysfunctional family they are concerned about is the rigid conservative family. That is what an alert parent discovered when she found a curious handout from school in her son’s backpack. It’s “another example of liberals gone wild,” as columnist Mona Charen put it. The handout from the health teacher included “a list of some of the unworkable rules found in dysfunctional families.” The rigid rules included: “Boys shouldn’t cry... Girls should always be nice... Elders always deserve respect and come first... There is only one way to do things.”

It’s is interesting how this works, isn’t it? You start by battling against some generally-agreed pathology, but end up smuggling your cultural/religious agenda into health class at the government school. Only you don’t admit that you are talking about values; you talk about “dysfunction” as though your only concern is social competence.

To understand what is going on you need a good theory. In this case, we need a good psychology to shine the light of knowledge on these busy liberal beavers. My preference is the developmental psychology of Clare Graves and his followers, for which you can find links here.

In our industrial society there are mostly four kinds of people. There are red impulsives, who experience life as helpless victims and believe that power, or lack of power, explains everything They are the kind of people who ask: What’s in it for me? as they break the law.

Then there are blue purposives. They believe in the One Truth, in rules and traditional roles. There are also orange creatives who believe that life is an adventure, a game to be won.

And finally there are green communitarians who believe that power leads to cycles of violence, rules lead to stunted lives, and risky business ventures should be governed by the Precautionary Principle. These green communitarians are members of the nation’s only established church, the Church of Positive Self-Esteem.

In Wikipedia’s definition of dysfunctional family we are talking about the red impulsives, people with compulsions and addictions, so Wikipedia’s contributor is in effect calling the red impulsive culture pathological. The liberals at the UI Counseling Center agree that the red impulsives are pathological, but then they stretch the definition a little by calling the blue purposive culture problematic. The public school health teacher has made the final step: the rigid rules and roles of the blue purposives are pathological.

It is one thing to call someone dysfunctional. It is another thing to do something about it, especially when the helping professionals of state university counseling centers and public school health teachers start to act like ministers of the established Church of Positive Self-Esteem. Pretty soon the prelates of the government church start persecuting the independent churches.

That is happening right now in Britain to the enterprising souls trying to duplicate Chuck Colson’s prison ministry in British prisons. Colson’s program, writes Charles Moore, is called “InnerChange. The idea was ‘the transformation of lives through the love of God’... In Texas, it is claimed that recidivism dropped from 55 per cent to eight per cent for those who took part in InnerChange.” Unfortunately, in the British prison system the InnerChange program is running into difficulties. An “Area Psychologist” took a look at it and “reported that the leader of the programme believed ‘the root of offending is in individual sin,’ and she opined that this ‘lacks basis in specific scientific research.’”

In the Graves system, which may not be specifically scientific enough for Area Psychologists, the leap from red impulsive culture to blue purposive culture occurs when a person who lives life as a helpless victim of powerful forces decides to be a victim no more. Instead of blaming the world for his problems he takes responsibility for his life and his actions, and finds, miraculously, that he is freed from the burden of life-as-a-victim. In the Christian symbology, this is called sin and redemption.

Apparently, in this diverse, multicultural society, some of our Area Psychologists have not got the message that we are all supposed to celebrate the differences.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm

Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust

Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity

Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh

Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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