[Parentsgroup-list] A call for moderation...

Christine Dianne Wenc wenc at fas.harvard.edu
Sun Jul 31 10:48:28 EDT 2005

The resentment on both sides is amazing, and I am not sure what to do
about that.  But I do
think that as parents we may share more convictions than not.  I
have learned a lot by talking to other people in this group myself.

I also want to make it clear
that just because you may not share my beliefs (and you might not want to
assume you know what they are...)  doesn't mean you are not welcome
in the group--and welcome to disagree as you see fit.  The steering
committee, for instance, is certainly not united in their political

I also agree that certain political views are not publicly welcome
on most college campuses, including this one, and that this tends to
stifle discussion in ways which are not very helpful.  American feminists
are partly responsible for the lack of public support for child care and
maternity leaves here (as was pointed out in that article) and I think
it's a good idea for 'liberals' to think about why that is true.

I am sorry to those who were offended by the (expletive deleted).  I
think that the United States's economic system is quite
family-unfriendly--including to the 'traditional' family--and my impulsive
post came from my perception of this.  I was definitely not attacking
religion or the support religious communities can give to families.

If I wasn't strongly (even obsessively) in favor of family values as a
concept which should be promoted in the culture at large, I wouldn't have
started this group.  But I do sincerely apologize to those who were
offended by my comments.


On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 jbarnes at fas.harvard.edu wrote:

> Thanks for this.  I was offended enough by your first political post and the
> follow-up "amen" that I'm not sure I belong in this group.  I'm still wondering
> but appreciate your call for removing political discussion as best we can.  As
> an (aspiring) economist as well as father of 3 I hope you will refrain from
> again assuming certain political views imply less empathy with those seeking to
> raise their children.  Believe it or not, there are those of us who are
> red-state, proudly American, pro-family and neither intellectually dishonest
> nor secretly dreaming of subjugating single mothers to a life of poverty.  We
> may not make our voices heard very often but that is only because we have
> learned that while Harvard can be a lonely place for parents it is an even
> lonelier place for those who do not share the predominant political/social
> views.  Your first post and the first several replies, even with your comments
> below, make this feel like one more place where we are neither understood nor
> welcomed.  Describing the political/social views of some of your colleagues in
> this very group as an expletive is remarkably coarse and cruel but somehow
> passes for informed opinion in most circles of Harvard.  Let's not make this
> group one of them.
> Jesse
> Quoting Christine Dianne Wenc <wenc at fas.harvard.edu>:
> >
> > Okay, sorry about that.  In the interests of making this a useful forum
> > for information useful to parents as such (and not a format for political
> > debate--or child-rearing techniques, which we haven't even BEGUN to
> > broach and which would probably be far more likely to start a fistfight),
> > I think we'd better make a rule that all posts to this list must
> > be on the topic of parenting at Harvard and perhaps peer institutions, and
> > that's it.  Suggestions and requests for housing, physicians etc are also
> > welcome, and I also think the results of any studies looking at
> > parenthood in academia are also appropriate.
> > But I will now promise to keep my trap shut about politics, and hopefully
> > you will too.
> >
> > If anyone is interested in the other subjects, maybe we can sponsor a
> > little conference or discussion at some point.  (Pro/anti-Ferberizing
> > bakeoff, maybe?)  ('Ferberizing' is also known as 'crying it out,' in case
> > you didn't know, and pretty much epitomizes the two widely diverging
> > branches of infant care philosophy, much like the red and blue states
> > diverge on other things.)
> >
> > Thanks to those of you who responded.
> >
> > Christine
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> > Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> > http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
> >

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