Time Magazine recently had an article about a study dealing with the favoritism many parents display toward one of their children:
One oft-cited study showed that about 70% of fathers and 65% of mothers exhibit a preference for one child or another. For fathers, it’s most often the youngest girl; for mothers, it’s typically the oldest boy. And remember, the key here is the exhibited preference. Since parents do such a good job of concealing any bias — especially when a scientist is watching — the numbers are almost certainly a good deal higher.
If it’s any consolation for Mom and Dad — to say nothing of the unfavored kids — favoritism is hardwired into our species. Since families, at their evolutionary essence, exist principally as a way to get as many genes as possible into the next generation, we’re programmed to place our bets on the kids who stand the greatest chance of being reproductively successful.
It’s an interesting article, but far more interesting are the comments. Most of the comments take the “liberal” stance that humans have transcended nature, that only fairness can prevail, that there can be no hierarchy among children because we are all equal. Here is one example of such a comment:
As a scientist and a mother and whatever we humans are – I can tell you with whatever guarantee you would ask of me – that that is not true, not in terms of love anyway.
Parents love all children equally. The parents themselves might not even know or think they do but at the deepest level where it counts the most, love is equal.
Now, emotional energy and attention might be unequal. Families are a mix of personalities and parents can identify with one child more than another or behavioural or medical issues can interfere with relationship dynamics.
I was the “difficult child” in my family. In my adolescence I did feel less favoured and loved less. I wasn’t, they loved me so much they were worried about me and it put anxiety into our relationship.
We can talk about relationship and emotional dynamics. Love is unmeasurable, it is endless, and it is always there.
In typical leftist fashion, and probably unaware she is even doing it, “Red Bess Road” (above) sets up a straw man (love) and then denies the validity of the study based on that. It never occurred to her that the study had nothing to do with love. It was about “exhibited favoritism” – as it clearly stated.
There are a few comments that take the “conservative” stance, that humans are part of nature, that we should strive to be fair and just but, at the same time, maintain harmony with the greater natural world. Here is a comment that represents the “conservative” minority view:
I find the responses just as interesting as the article. Most people want to deny that they have a favorite, even when it is measurable. What many studies find is that we act in ways that we are not really conscious of – and want to not believe that we do. The article also pointed out that favoritism is found in about 70% of cases – which means it is not an absolute for everyone, so just because it may not exist in some people doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, the denial of scientific evidence runs rampant in the population these days – and manifests itself in politics, too.
I’ll point out here that the article does contradict itself, stating at the beginning that favoritism is an “iron-clad” rule of parenting – but then citing a study that found it in only 65%-70% of cases. But this is just sloppy journalism; it does not undermine the study. Is Paul McDonald (comment above) a race-realist? If not, he should be.
The “liberal” position holds that humans (at least white humans) are above nature, that we are akin to gods. We can significantly alter our planet’s climate, we have the power, and responsibility, to oversee the fate of other species – from lowly snails to whales and elephants. We can overcome old-age and our destiny is to live for centuries or even forever. Our own capabilities and proclivities (such as I.Q. and crime) are determined by the choices made by humans (nurture) rather than our own genetic codes (nature).
“Liberals” tend to reject the notion of a traditional god – because they want the position for themselves. Conservatives tend to have a more humble approach, considering themselves subservient to a higher being – whose will is manifested in nature. Even if Mankind was given dominion over nature, we do not have the power to replace, or reject, it because we are part of it.
I have already written about this theme elsewhere. If we pay attention, we can see it played out over and over again in the media.