Monday, April 15, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsNo country for young children

No country for young children


This Sunday we go back to 2008 and note this long-read by Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal.

Many readers will be familiar with Dalrymple’s bleak but accurate take on the collapse of British culture, and the family in particular. Here he examines the case of Scarlett Keeling, murdered in Goa, and Shannon Matthews, kidnapped for money.

Dalrymple believes ‘the two poles of contemporary British child rearing are neglect and overindulgence’. He also believes (and as an Irish mother I had to chuckle at this) ‘the British, never fond of children, have lost all knowledge or intuition about how to raise them; as a consequence, they now fear them, perhaps the most terrible augury possible for a society’.

He concludes: ‘A system of perverse incentives in a culture of undiscriminating materialism, where the main freedom is freedom from legal, financial, ethical, or social consequences, makes childhood in Britain a torment both for many of those who live it and those who observe it. Yet the British government will do anything but address the problem, or that part of the problem that is its duty to address: the state-encouraged breakdown of the family. If one were a Marxist, one might see in this refusal the self-interest of the state-employee class: social problems, after all, are their raison d’être.’

Ten years later, we ask: Has anything changed? The sky-high teenage pregnancy rate has decreased but to this depressing litany of abuse we can now add the widespread rape of minor girls in town after town in Britain, and its cover-up by public servants and police.

What a disgraceful culture the Left has created for those who have no say in being raised in it.

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