Pollitt on West

Jim heartfield jim at heartfield.demon.co.uk
Thu Dec 31 11:16:24 PST 1998

In message <v04011707b2b157748475@[]>, Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com> writes reporting Katha Pollit's views on Cornel West's book

>The argument is that
>our society hates parents and undermines them economically and

Well, that's true, isn't it? The family wage has been systematically undermined since the early eighties, making it more difficult for parents to raise their children. What's to disapprove of in that?

> The book favors parental authority -- there's much fretting about
>teen rudeness, youth culture, evil TV and rock. So their sympathies are
>basically with men over women, and parents over kids and over the govt.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I tend to think that it is a good thing that parents have authority over their children - after all it would be cruel to expect children to bear the burden of adult decisions. And I'm not sure how it follows that this equals a sympathy for men over women (unless West is arguing that women are children). As for the government, all my sympathies are with parents as against the government, whose record of child abuse in children's' homes across Britain and the US is legendary.

>They discuss govt mishandling of unfounded child abuse claims, for
>instance, but no substantial discussion of real child abuse.

Well, there is quite a lot written on child abuse. I don't see how it is wrong to point out that the hysteria around child abuse has led to a great many miscarriages of justice, and a basic attitude of distrust on the part of the authorities towards parents.

> What got me particularly was the calls to restrict divorce.

Yes, that seems pretty reprehensible. But just because he's wrong on that does not mean that he has a point when he says that parents are getting a rough deal. That seems pretty sound to me. -- Jim heartfield

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list