Today’s Entitled Parental Culture - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Today’s Entitled Parental Culture

Progressive culture at once pampers children and mistreats them. “Helicopter parenting” and prattle about “unconditional love” for children coexist with a brutal culture of abortion and eugenics, and progressives find nothing in that contradictory. They congratulate themselves for their abortions while extolling their parenting. “Choosing not to keep that early pregnancy allowed me to grow up and become the mother I wanted and needed to be,” the actress Uma Thurman wrote about her abortion.

Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus once proudly titled one of her pieces, “I would have aborted a fetus with Down syndrome. Women need that right.” The subtext of her argument is that the right to life turns not on the child’s humanity but on the child’s desirability and the feelings of the parents. From this mindset has come a culture of parental hubris and domination, which is far colder than the supposedly child-hating cultures of the past. At least most parents in those older cultures didn’t treat children as disposable property, subject to their whims and fluctuating desires. Recognizing that children come from God, those parents felt an obligation to take care of them regardless of their feelings.

Today’s parental culture, by contrast, is crassly entitled. It claims at the same time a “right to abortion” and a “right to a child” — the latter fulfilled by any means, no matter how immoral. People can go to doctors either to abort children or create them in labs. This has reduced a generation of children to the status of accessories without mothers and fathers known to them.

“We offspring are recognizing the right that was stripped from us at birth — the right to know who both our parents are,” said Katrina Clark, writing about her experiences as a child of an “anonymous sperm donor.”

Where traditional culture emphasized parental duties, modern culture celebrates parental desires. Deliberating denying children a home with a married mother and father is a source of pride for progressives. They consider that virtuous social policy. They, for example, champion adoption agencies that give children to unmarried couples while discriminating against agencies that don’t. The Biden administration is cutting off federal funds to “faith-based” adoption and foster care agencies that reject the demands of LGBTQ activists and require adoptive mothers and fathers be married.

From this mindset has come a culture of parental hubris and domination, which is far colder than the supposedly child-hating cultures of the past.

In such a culture, the recent tremulous announcement of NBC’s Hoda Kotb about her personal life, which previous generations would have considered very peculiar and scandalous, barely elicits a shrug. Kotb announced that she is breaking up with her fiancé but that they will “co-parent” their two adopted daughters. No one is apparently supposed to think it odd or irresponsible that they adopted these children before marrying. “Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman are keeping their girls front of mind amid their breakup,” begins People’s comically fatuous account of the announcement.

“Joel and I have had a lot of prayerful and meaningful conversations over the holidays and we decided that we’re better as friends and parents than we are as an engaged couple, so we decided we are going to start this new year … on our new path as loving parents to our adorable, delightful children, and as friends,” Kotb said on air, to which her Today co-host Jenna Bush responded by praising her “bravery.”

There is no mention in the article of any “prayerful” conversations held before the children were adopted or any consideration of the implications of out-of-wedlock adoption. (Only states like Utah still prohibit it.) Instead, we learn that Kotb thought her boyfriend good husband material because of his openness to out-of-wedlock adoption: “I knew in that moment I chose right because it was the thing that would make me the happiest on earth.… He made all the decisions so easy and clear.… I said, ‘I chose right. I chose a man who chose my happiness over his convenience maybe in that moment.’”

How the children feel about the outcome of all of this happiness-seeking isn’t broached in the article, of course. In the past, they would have been placed in a moral and stable home with a married mother and father. Now that is considered “discriminatory” and the welfare of children is ignored. What passes for progressive policy is just disguised child abuse.

Woe to children born into a willful culture that rejects the natural moral law and its duty of care to them. Parents in such a culture become masters of children, discarding them if unwanted one day, treating them like accessories the next. All the talk about the “right to a child,” which now extends to everyone from rich and reckless celebrities to the transgendered, blatantly ignores the rights of the child. In the end, the right to abortion and the right to a child flow from the same selfish source.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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