Benjamin Spock: The Man Who Ruined America
No matter which side you take: The wealthiest, most powerful, and most advanced nation in the world has been in free fall for the past two decades. The epitome of the Western world is in turmoil and heading towards collapse, primarily due to the mindset of its citizens. The US is no longer the home of the brave. Many are searching for those responsible and asking questions:
- Why are young people in the United States much weaker than young people elsewhere in the world?
- Why do the majority of Americans lack any resilience?
- Why do most teenagers in America have no empathy?
- Why have instant gratification, depression, anxiety, a lack of character, and passivity in the face of injustice become so common in this country?
- Why do so many teens in the U.S. seek to immerse themselves in the world of drugs, video games, or pornography like a silent pandemic?
These are complex questions with different variables and possibly multiple answers. However, they all share a common denominator: The way parents are raising their children. A Humpty Dumpty Generation. And this is where the world of ideas comes into play. Ideas rule the world, and have power and consequences. Let me talk to you about the infamous but popular Spock’s Method
“Breastfeeding on Demand“
In the United States, parents taught discipline to their children, even though babies cried; they were only breastfed at specific times. Until Dr. Benjamin Spock came along in the late 1940s, most babies were fed on a strict schedule. His approach of allowing babies to bite the nipple on demand sparked criticism among many communities.
Before that time, Americans – influenced by the discipline and wisdom of the early Christian settlers – raised their children with boundaries, avoiding the constant indulgence of their desires.
Western classical education was generally based on values and discipline; It fostered joy, love, and respect in children. However, many, upon reading Spock’s book, abandoned this approach, leading to social issues such as drug addiction and HIV. Few opposed this trend, advocating for the teaching of self-control.
This same idea that we must satisfy the child every time they cry is later extrapolated to the 4-7-year-old child. We don’t want them to scream or throw a tantrum, so instead of correcting them, a new pacifier or distraction is sought—anything that immediately soothes them. Television, toys, video games, chocolates… you name it.
“Parents: Trust in yourselves, you know more than you think”
Spock encouraged parents to trust their instincts and to be responsive to their child’s needs. While this is positive sometimes, an overemphasis on immediate responsiveness without setting limits leads to permissiveness.
The main issue with having too much self-confidence is the lack of recognition of the need for others, not understanding that we are limited and require input from others, we need external help.
Spock encouraged parents to often tell their children, “You’re very good,” “Trust in yourself”, “You’re a great student,” and “Well done!”
The Christian teaching that we are all great sinners in need of both correction and grace has been set aside. Now, all children are believed to be born perfect, always in the right, and their instincts possess absolute truth.
When a person has a big ego that parents have encouraged, they start trusting themselves. When a person trusts themselves too much, they become careless and self-indulgent. When they are careless and self-indulgent, ruin and failure follow. That’s where the existential pain begins. Unless that person realizes they need to wake up and be humble, they won’t be able to repent. Happiness only comes through acceptance and repentance.
Pride, complaining, bitterness, self-deception, and the belief that life is unfair are the main characteristics of people raised under Benjamin Spock’s teachings.
” If a child thinks he is in the world for something important, it will give him confidence.”
Before the philosophy created by pediatrician Benjamin Spock, children were raised with love but also with “the rod of correction.” They were taught that they should work hard, that nothing in life was free, and that only through effort, perseverance, honesty, teamwork, and courage could things be achieved in the real world.
It was common to believe that the purpose of life was in service; serving one’s country, serving others, serving the community, the military, businesses, or God. This perspective was very different from what Spock proposed, which is that the purpose of life is to be great and to have a good time.
Dr. Spock was the first influencer who inoculated the idea that your child should believe they came into the world as something great and special. This is a distortion of reality that teaches arrogance instead of humility. Levels of anxiety and frustration in U.S. teenagers are at their highest and have been steadily increasing for half a century.
The reason is very simple: everyone wants to be top scorers like Messi, astronauts, millionaire singers, and famous explorers like Indiana Jones in their teenage years. This leads them to despise their work at the local McDonald’s or feel stuck while pursuing their 5-year university degree. The wake-up call of adulthood is rarely easily overcome.
THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF IDEAS
Ideas have consequences. When Benjamin Spock published “Baby and Child Care”, the book had a massive success. Sold millions of copies, it was called a “revolutionary approach to parenting” by the media, and even the POTUS had a copy. It was in the 70s when his methods became widely popular.
I don’t think Dr. Spock was an evil person. He was a pediatrician who cared for children and I can understand his concerns, but the problem is the road to hell is paved with good intentions, Spock’s Methods undermine discipline in parenting and, therefore, create immature and lazy adults.
“People without character cannot be free,” says my friend Larry Reed. The erosion of character leads to the loss of liberty. People lacking character and self-control may be prone to fantasize about Big Brother, lean towards “Social Justice,” and tend to vote for socialist politicians. Why? Because when you lack self-control, you seek to control others.
Lack of self-control is one of the major triggers of anxiety and frustration. Suicide, drug overdose, and addiction to social media are just outcomes of this underlying issue of frustration. His intentions were good but what Dr. Spock didn’t know the lack of self-control would lead entire generations to anxiety, laziness, weakness, and suffering.