RUSH: Lisa in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. You’re first. Great to have you on the program. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Excellent. Thank you.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call. I just wanted to comment on your homework assignment that you gave us on Friday.
RUSH: You know, let me ask you. I gave that homework assignment in the last 10 seconds of the show, and you were still tuned in and heard it.
CALLER: I was. I tune in as often as I can.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate that. Did you actually find the story and read it?
CALLER: I did. On Saturday I stopped what I was doing. I had to sit down to look this up and I read through. It was long, like you said, but I just thought it was neat. It reminded me of when I was growing up. We just played outside all day, stopped in for lunch, let my mom know what we were doing, and played again until dinner. No cell phones, no bicycle helmets, no sunscreen, and we lived to tell the tale.
RUSH: Now, there are some differences. I haven’t yet gotten into this, but that’s why I took the call. If you weren’t here the in last 10 seconds of the program on Friday, I gave a homework assignment. It’s a very, very long piece that we linked at RushLimbaugh.com by Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic. It’s entitled, “The Overprotected Kid,” and it is about how we — Baby Boomers — have raised kids.
The decisions they’ve made as parents have just been so overprotective that the kids they raised are not risk-takers. They’re afraid of everything. Their parents have made them afraid of everything and that has led them to becoming more dependent and more and more expectant that others would make everything safe for them and that everybody else would protect them.
Children of the Baby Boomers in many cases (not all, because nothing is universal, but the vast majority of ’em) were overprotected and coddled. They’re timid, almost bubble wrapped. And my childhood was like yours. I was telling people after I’d given out the homework assignment, Lisa, that my typical day when I was a kid was to leave the house as soon as I could, eight o’clock in the morning. It’d go play baseball or whatever, or ride the bike.
RUSH: I may not have been seen by my parents ’til five o’clock that afternoon!
CALLER: (chuckles) Exactly.
RUSH: I had little transistor radio that I rigged up to be attached under the speedometer of my bicycle so I could listen to radio like adults did in their cars.
RUSH: And I drove all over town, and I drove through stop signs without stopping and didn’t get hit by a car. I did all kinds of stupid stuff. But I road the bike everywhere.
CALLER: So did I.
RUSH: I did not wear a helmet. (interruption) No, no! There were no helmets. There was no seat belts in the cars. I didn’t wear a helmet or any of this stuff. In fact, my mother once… I’ll tell you, my mother sent me to the “Snack & Pack,” which was what the 7-Elevens were back then, locally owned. She said, “You’re gonna pick up some stuff,” and I was mad that I had to do it. I had other things I wanted to do.
So I took my bike, I rode up to the Snack & Pack. It was a big sack, and I didn’t have anything on the bike to carry a sack. So I had to hold it in my left hand as my left hand’s on the handlebars and my left knee at one point in the trip came up and hit the bottom of the sack, and the front tire of the bike jackknifed, and I did a header off of the bike. I did a somersault in the middle of the street.
Luckily, I didn’t get badly hurt, and I’ve had some little cuts and some bruises and abrasions, and I was just mad. And I got the stuff collected. The sack had emptied out. So I had to put everything back in the sack and ride home, and I couldn’t wait to tell my mother what she had caused. I said, “Look what happened.” She said, “What happened to you?” I’m all bloody, and she said, “Well, go put some stuff on it,” and that was it!
RUSH: Yeah, Mercurochrome, iodine. But there was no, “Ohhhh, are you okay? Oh, sorry! Oh, I really didn’t mean it. I didn’t think. Oh, it will never happen again, Little Rusty, I promise.” There was, “You idiot. I didn’t tell you to wreck the bike. I told you to bring the stuff home.”
RUSH: Today if that had happened, the media would be on the scene of the accident. The parents might be sued for irresponsible raising — by the kid! The kid would do the lawyering, the suing. It is. But here’s the different. We have to be fair, Lisa.
RUSH: While I’m out doing all this and my brother, too, as a kid, there were no neighborhood stalkers. My parents were not worried about me being kidnapped. They weren’t worried about me being attacked by some vagrant for whatever reason. They didn’t worry that we were gonna end up in a gang crossfire or anything of the sort. I’m sure same thing for you and your child. Parents today, depending on where they live, worry about this. I mean, we didn’t have Amber alerts, for example.
RUSH: So there are some things that have happened culturally, depraved things which have caused parents to react in a way that’s protective and overprotect. But this piece properly regards those as not normal things that have happened. All it takes is for one circumstance like that to happen and all of parenthood closes the ranks. The bottom line is that it’s bad for the kid. It takes away risk, and you have to learn risk. The kid has to learn risk, failures, all these things. All these life lessons are not be learned because of being overprotected, and that leads to being dependent on others for your safety and even for your economic future. What did you get from the piece?
CALLER: I got the same thing that you did, and as an afterthought, maybe this the where the wussification of men started. The guys go out and rough-and-tumble and be boys. I mean, kids in our neighborhood did that all the time. We swung across monkey lines across the street and made mud pies and all kinds of stuff, and boys were boys.
RUSH: Yeah. We waited for the rain and the snow to go play football and get muddy.
RUSH: We waited, and then we played. Yeah. I remember I was bullied on the high school football team. I was bullied in the first grade. But it’s different than the way it is today. I mean, it’s reacted to differently today than it was then. Well, I’m flattered that you took the time ’cause it’s a long piece. Folks, this piece, if you print it, comes out to (depending on how you do it) 16 to 19 pages. So, Lisa, thank you. I appreciate it. She did the homework assignment, first one ever assigned, by the way, here on the EIB Network, I think. Tat I can remember.
RUSH: I’ll tell you one of the differences. One of the reasons why my parents and maybe yours didn’t worry about all of those depraved people when I was a kid growing up is because the liberals, at that time, had not yet succeeded in thoroughly over-sexing our culture. I will ‘splain that when I get back.
RUSH: I gave a homework assignment late in the program on Friday in the last 10 seconds of the program. The reason I did is, I intended to discuss this story all day on Friday but I didn’t get to it because it was Open Line Friday. It was caller focused on Friday. But Hanna Rosin has a piece in the March 19th issue of The Atlantic entitled, “The Overprotected Kid.” I’ll give you some of the pull quotes.
“Like most parents my age, I have memories of childhood so different from the way my children are growing up that sometimes I think I might be making them up, or at least exaggerating them.” Lori Gottlieb: “Back in graduate school, the clinical focus had always been on how the lack of parental attunement affects the child. It never occurred to any of us to ask, what if the parents are too attuned? What happens to those kids?“
See, this is one of the ways it began. The Baby Boomers were told in graduate school and just culturally — they were taught, made to feel guilty — about the lack of parental attunement or awareness, the lack of attention being paid to the children. They weren’t asked to ponder what the impact would be of too much attachment, too much concern, too much attunement.
What happens to those kids that are babied, sheltered, protected? They grow up thinking they’re not capable of doing anything on their own. They grow up totally risk-averse. They grow up, basically, afraid of reality. If they’ve been sheltered and protected and provided for, they’re raised and they end up with no confidence, which gave rise to the self-esteem movement in our schools.
Because we realized our children didn’t like themselves because they had not again given a chance to develop love for themselves. They were so overly protected, provided for, taken care of, sheltered, that they didn’t grow up. One of the focal points was risk. They just weren’t allowed to take any because the fear of failure, the fear of damage, the fear of the risk resulting in pain.
That’s probably the primary thing that these overprotective parents wanted to avoid was any pain or suffering on the part of the Little Johnny and Little Sally. And if they could do that, then they would be good parents. “There’s enough trouble out there without Little Johnny and Little Sally being protected from it. So we need to protect them from any pain, any suffering,” and, as such, we end up with really strange but unprepared kids.
Another pull quote: “One common concern of parents these days is that children grow up too fast. But sometimes it seems as if children donÂ’t get the space to grow up at all; they just become adept at mimicking the habits of adulthood.” They learn how to act like adults, but they don’t really become adults. “As [geography student Roger] Hart’s research shows, children used to gradually take on responsibilities, year by year” as they grew up.
“They crossed the road,” on their own, “went to the store,” on their own; “eventually some of them got small neighborhood jobs,” until the local town came and shut them down like they do today for the improper license. You can’t even set up a lemonade stand today without some town authority coming and shutting you down. “Their pride,” children’s pride, “was wrapped up in competence and independence, which grew as they tried and mastered activities they hadnÂ’t known how to do the previous year.”
Now, that sounds just perfectly sensible, totally wrapped up in common sense. The — the notion of achievement, accomplishment, doing something on your own. Way too many kids are being denied that opportunity because they’re being overprotected. Parents either think they can’t do it… How many of you had parent who told you that you were never gonna amount to anything?
How many of you had parents who said, “You can’t do that”? A lot of kids do. It’s not healthy, obviously. But other parents are totally laissez-faire. “Go try it and do what you want.” But there was pride in competence, learning you were able to do something. There was pride in being able to take care of yourself. There was sense of achievement in independence, being able to handle things yourself without having to run to mommy or daddy.
As they got older and tried more things and mastered more activities, they grew, and they learned to take on greater risks. And then they learned to assess the risk. “[T]hese days, middle-class children, at least, skip these milestones. They spend a lot of time in the company of adults, so they can talk and think like them, but they never build up the confidence to be truly independent and self-reliant,” if they come from overprotective parents.
Here’s another pull quote from the homework assignment: “Children are born with the instinct to take risks in play, because historically, learning to negotiate risk has been crucial to survival; in another era, they would have had to learn to run from some danger, defend themselves from others, be independent. Even today, growing up is a process of managing fears and learning to arrive at sound decisions.
“By engaging in risky play, children are effectively subjecting themselves to a form of exposure therapy, in which they force themselves to do the thing theyÂ’re afraid of in order to overcome their fear. But if they never go through that process, the fear can turn into a phobia. Paradoxically, [Ellen Sandseter, a professor of early-childhood education at Queen Maud University College] writes, ‘our fear of children being harmed,’ mostly in minor ways, ‘may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology.’
“She cites a study showing that children who injured themselves falling from heights when they were between 5 and 9 years old are less likely to be afraid of heights at age 18. ‘Risky play with great heights will provide a desensitizing or habituating experience,’ she writes.” You know what happened here? In many cases, we assume that all this stuff that I’m describing that’s good was a problem: The risk-taking, the independence, the competence.
A bunch of liberal socialist architects came along and said, “We know better. We can raise your kids better. You’re not qualified to raise your kids. We can do it better for you at the government level.” So they began these social experiments. Childhood became a laboratory for social experimentation and we’ve gotten to the point now we’re gonna have to go back to the way it was to establish normalcy because these people have so screwed it up.
Years ago this story, “The Overprotected Kid,” would not have even been written, because it was such a rarity. The overprotected kid was such a rarity, and that kid… I’m not gonna use the word to describe what The Overprotected Kid was but we all know what that kid was. Now we have a whole bunch of people like that. Now we got a problem. So we’re having to revert back to the way it was and get rid of all the social laboratory experimentation.
But Mr. Snerdley pointed something out to me right as we were going to the break. When I had mentioned to Lisa, our first caller, “Yeah, you and I, we can talk about how carefree it was when we were growing up. We’d leave home at eight in the morning, come home at five in the afternoon. We’re 10 years old, and our parents never worried.” Snerdley said, “Well, they weren’t any sexual predators out there then,” and that’s because the left had not overly sexualized the culture.
That is a factor. In fact, I was talking to Bill Donohue, the Catholic League, interviewed him for the latest issue of the Limbaugh Letter. You should read it. You should read every issue of the Limbaugh Letter. We just finished an interview with Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, and this is Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. He said something. I don’t have the interview right in front of me.
But he made the point that practically everything the left, culturally, is trying to move — everything that they’re interested in, every cause, every issue, everything about what the left is trying to do — is related to sex. Contraception, whatever it is, the left is obsessed with everybody and anybody having sex with anybody — whoever, wherever, whenever they want — with no limits and no judgment on it. It got me to thinking of all the things that I have heard.
I remember back in the nineties on this program, when it became fashion about during the AIDS crisis to say, “Okay, so we’ve gotta start teaching kids to use condoms.” They’d take cucumbers to class, and they’d use condoms or balloons, and then that eventuated to parents actually agreeing to letting their teenaged kids have sex in their houses rather than the backseat of the car. Because, as one parent told me on the phone, “At least I know it’s clean in my guest bathroom.”
The parents said, “Rush, they’re gonna have sex; we can’t stop them,” which became the liberal mantra. “We can’t stop ’em, Rush. They’re going to do it. You can’t stop it.” When I tried that same line of thinking on smoking, they wouldn’t hear of it. “But wait a minute! Once they start smoking, you can’t stop ’em. So why don’t you put a pack of cigarettes on the nightstand for when they finish sex?”
“No, no. That’s bad. We’re not gonna let ’em smoke.” “Well, but you say they’re gonna have sex no matter what.” “Yeah, that’s right.” Bill Donohue’s point was that no matter where you look — be it the abortion debate, be it the conception debate, be it whatever attempts to destroy the Catholic Church — the left, it’s always related to sex. And he may have a point. It is true that pornography is just rampant today.
It’s much more visible, readily visible and easily accessed than it ever was 20, 30, 40 years ago. Part of that’s the Internet, but television has also played a role in the oversexing and making it look like sex any time, anywhere, in anybody is normal. In fact, that defines whether you’re not hip or not. It defines whether you’re cool or not. And it has, in a suggestive sense, given license to people. This has led to sexual predators.
They’re in much greater visibility today than they were when I was growing up, for sure. There’s no question about it. I’m not even… Now, granted, I grew up small town, but it was nothing anybody in our town was concerned about. I think in many places, particularly non-big city areas, that was probably the way it was. But there’s no question that the oversexed pop culture has created all kinds of apparent limitlessness, which equals cool behavior, and it has led to some detrimental things.
And this has caused parents who think they’re responsible to end up being overprotective and trying to protect their kids from that. But if you do believe this, I mean, all you have to do is look at teenage pregnancy, teenage single motherhood. I mean, it is rampant, and it is almost uncontrollable. And you’re not allowed to condemn it. You’re not allowed to speak factually, correctly about it. The damage it does to both mother and child, the obstacles that that circumstance puts in people’s way?
You’re not allowed to say it, ’cause you’re not allowed to condemn.
It’s because, “Well, it’s a product of their poor poverty, socio-economics. It’s a problem that the rich have caused all this,” and they turn every aspect of this then becomes politicized. But I had not thought of it the way Bill Donohue described it in the interview. The sex angle, obviously, is relevant. But I think also the elimination or prevention of risk — the denial of opportunity to succeed, to become competent, to become independent — has taken us to a point now where all of a sudden it’s thought that we have a problem.
And we have a problem precisely because leftist engineers began to take over the whole notion of child rearing. And through the power of media and suggestion they began to intimidate parents into believing they didn’t know what they were doing. So they go out and buy books written by these leftists on how to do it. All those books were aimed at was simply giving the state as much control over people as possible.
It was rooted in the belief that you as a parent were incompetent yourself. “You don’t know how to raise a child. You didn’t know how to raise yourself! You don’t know how to spend your money the right way. You don’t know the right kind of car to drive. You don’t know the right way to eat. You’re not responsible enough even to get the right health care or health care policy. We have to do that for you! You’re not responsible enough to get yourself from point A to point B.
“We gotta get you there in mass transit and we gotta put you in the right kind of car if you’re not gonna use mass transit.” So it’s become just as much control over all of life as they can secure for themselves rooted in their belief that you are incompetent. And they have succeeded in influencing parenthood to the point that they’ve raised millions of kids that are incompetent now, with no confidence, no ability to achieve independently. That’s why I assigned this piece as homework over the weekend.
It’s all relevant to everything that we discuss every day here on this program.
RUSH: Let me cut to the chase. Here’s one of the simplest ways of illustrating the differences. My parents raised me to be independent. I remember I couldn’t wait to leave home. I wanted to be on my own. I wanted to be responsible for myself. I wanted to be my boss, my own boss. I did not want to be dependent on anybody. I didn’t want anybody having that power over me. But the difference today is that the Democrat Party, the American left is raising their own kids, and they want all kids to be raised dependent on them, dependent on the state. That’s from where they derive their electoral power, is everybody being dependent on them, on the government or what have you. And so these kids are raised being taught about the beauties of the state and the wonderment of government and the fairness and the equality of all of it.
At the same time, they are raised being warned of all of the meanness and the unfairness and the inequality and the extremism that’s out there. And you’ve gotta be careful, ’cause everybody wants to harm you and damage you and take advantage of you and relegate you to insignificance. And that’s the difference. Kids aren’t being raised to be independent today — by design and on purpose, by liberals, anyway.
RUSH: Here is Catherine in Southern California. You’re next. Great to have you with us. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. Mega dittos.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: You are my favorite harmless little fuzzball.
RUSH: I appreciate that.
CALLER: I absolutely love you. (giggles) My mom listens to you; my grandpa did; I do now; and I hope my kids do, too. There’s something I just wanted to touch on that you were talking about earlier in your program. You were talking about overprotective parenting and the left. And also I also think another point about the left is they’re also encouraging parents not to have more kids ’cause of this ridiculous notion that there is overpopulation, and that’s part of problem with overprotective parenting. Because if you only have two kids, two kids are pretty easy, you know? I came from a family of seven children, and even if my mom wanted to be overprotective, she couldn’t because there was too many.
RUSH: (laughing) It’s a good point.
CALLER: (giggling) Yes.
RUSH: If you only have one or two — and you’re right, by the way. The left is encouraging fewer children so as not to destroy the planet.
CALLER: I want to have five kids, but I just had my second ’cause I have a two-year-old, and then I have a nine-month-old, and then hopefully we’ll continue having more. But my mom had seven children, so we were unsupervised a lot.
RUSH: Wait a minute. How many kids do you have?
CALLER: I have two. My mom has seven.
RUSH: And you want three more?
CALLER: I want three more, yes.
RUSH: You want three more.
CALLER: I want three more. Hopefully we can make it if we’re not taxed death in California.
RUSH: I saw an episode after TV show that I watch now and then last week or two weeks ago, Chicago Fire. One of the firemen had seven kids, and he decided to give his wife a vasectomy on their 20th anniversary. He went out and he made a cake that was in the shape of a male sexual organ tied off.
CALLER: (giggling) Oh my gosh.
RUSH: And I just wonder if you had your seven kids, and then your husband went and got a vasectomy and gave you that as an anniversary president, would that be cool or would you not like it?
CALLER: (laughing) Um, I’m pretty conservative all around. I don’t know what I think of it. I don’t know. I just think people should have children whatever number they feel and not be put down by the left because there’s overpopulation.
RUSH: I totally agree.
CALLER: You want to have three kids? Great. Wonderful.
RUSH: Right. It’s none of the left’s business how many kids you have!
CALLER: Yeah! Don’t tell me I can’t have seven, I mean, or I can’t have five kids. I live in Southern California, and even here when I tell people I want five —
CALLER: — their eyeballs pop out, like, “You’re crazy! You’re gonna have five kids?” I think, it’s none of your business if I have five kids. I’m educated.
RUSH: I think you had a great point, Catherine. Parents with seven kids, there’s not time to be overprotective of ’em. They’re gonna be on their own. There’s gonna be… In fact, do you remember hearing the story? I hear these stories even now of people who came from large families, how at dinnertime you had to show up first if you were gonna get anything to eat ’cause sometimes there wasn’t enough for everybody to get an equal share of everything being served for dinner.
You had to even fight for what you got to eat in large families. That was certainly true in long-ago days, even true somewhat recently. But that’s the kind of behavior. There’s no way to self-protect from that or overly protect from it. (interruption) (chuckles) Here’s old Snerdley weighing in. He says, “Yeah, back then the women knew how to cook.” You know, I think that’s making a rebound, by the way: Women cooking, wanting to. I think that’s making a rebound. It’s just my casual observation of the culture. I think it’s making a rebound. It’s not making a lot of people happy, but it is making a rebound.