Born to Rule

I thought this a good commentary on the whole Tiger mom thing.  Via Insty [Note I added some paragraph breaks -  sorry Mr. Smith, but I simply cannot abide by paragraphs as long as yours]

But here's the thing.  And here the point has been made easier to make by the curious fact that Tiger Mom is a Yale Law School professor and as Professor Bainbridge has pointed out, it seems almost an epidemic among faculty parents in New Haven.

My fear is that little tiger kittens are not being groomed to make things that you and I can buy if we feel like it.  I'm afraid, call me paranoid if you like, that those little achievers will want to grow up to, well, rule.  Not in the imperial Chinese way, though I take it that is the ultimate inspiration for this model of child rearing.  If my high school understanding of Chinese history is correct, that Empire used to be ruled by a giant bureaucracy into which one got by passing extraordinarily difficult exams, competing against other fanatically hopeful parents who saw it as one of the few ways to get the young persons out of a life of horrible drudgery.  But rather in something more like the imperial Chinese way than my ideal, which is more like Thomas Jefferson's, without the antique and misguided dislike of commerce.

So, if I'm sitting in the middle of my Jeffersonian space, able to order whatever I want, within my budget of course, from Amazon, working at something I like, not taxed to death or harassed by officious officials;  if I can provide for my family and hope to provide a similarly independent life for my offspring, then what's it to me if some mom somewhere wants to drive her children so that someday they will produce a recording or a pill I might want to buy?  Only good.

But if we are sliding toward a world like the one that is, to exaggerate only a little, like that I was taught we should be sliding toward when I restlessly roamed the hallowed halls the The Yale Law School many years ago, then I am not so sanguine.  Then I worry that all this fierce intelligence, all this ambition, all this work are going toward the building of world in which my children will be mere, well, what do you call the people who support those who so intelligently manage things from on top.  Not to mention the unbelievably well educated 35 year old who will tell me someday I didn't score well enough in some algorithm I can't even understand to get my arteries bypassed or my prostate cancer treated.

I want to live in a world, and I want my children to as well, where we are free individuals, and geniuses can sell us stuff if we want to buy it.  When I suspect the little elites of tomorrow are just being made more formidable still, it excites not my admiration as much as my anxiety.


  1. PeterW:

    To the contrary - Chua's methods, which eschew structured socializing, will produce highly productive people who fail at status seeking. They'll lack the charisma and social dominance that elite white kids are trained for, and will be UNDERrepresented at top levels where people skills are more important than specific competence. Our new overlords will not be Asian.

  2. bobZ:

    i don't like china, or their people, and most especially their leadership. i don't like their cavalier attitude towards theft of intellectual property; i don't like their (published) assertions that we - the USA - are their enemy, and they'll be in a war with us sooner or later; i don't like how one fine day they're going to attack taiwan, to "take it back", when the real rationale is no more political than a bank robbery; i don't like how they'll cheerfully dilute their food/prescription drugs/toothpaste with sand or cardboard or antifreeze to save a freakin' nickel and when people die, that's just their bad luck; i don't like how when they get sued for rotten, stinking drywall they "sell" the company to 3rd cousin wu and then claim 'that corporate entity no longer exists and can therefore pay no damages, so sorry'; and i _really_ don't like their astonishing arrogance and swagger now they've moved up from a "killing 60,000,000 of our own people agrarian society" to whatever it is they are now.

    OTOH, i'm not all that worried about them taking over the world. yeah, they're selling arms and (probably) nuke tech to every tinpot dictator in the world, but dictators eventually fall, and they're bad about paying their bills anyway. they're buying up huge chunks of africa, but as anyone who's ever lived in africa will tell you, that will, repeat will turn out to be a huge mistake. and now they're starting to buy up US assets. oh dear.

    remind you of anyone? specifically, say, the japanese in the mid-to-late '80's? back when they were smarter and tougher and better businessmen then anyone else? when larry ellsion and other corporate titans ran around dressed as samurai, and walked on tatami mats and pretended to be bushido-like? when they bought up pebble beach and rockefeller center and most of hawaii and all sorts of trophy properties at huge prices, because they knew how to run them better? remember how that turned out for them?

    they can outwork (and outsteal) everyone else in the world, that's true. they can live on smaller margins than anyone else in the world, too. they may be the toughest people on earth, and formidable as hell. smart, hardworking AND tough is hard to beat. but maybe 4% of those 1.3 billion people live in the glittering bejeweled cities and drive mercedeses or buicks. (don't laugh: buicks are HUGE over there.)(LOL) the rest still live in crappy little villages or pitiful little farms, all being massively polluted by the nearby chemical factories, being robbed blind by the local party thugs, and getting very very pissed off about it. not to mention the 300 million or so marriage-age young males who can't find women due to the 'one child' policy and the resultant massive abortions of baby girls. gee, i wonder what'll happen THERE?? think they'll just shrug and be good, obedient employees? meanwhile, they're not just building potemkin villages there, oh no. they're building whole CITIES, designed for a million people or more, and they're....just...sitting...there....EMPTY. (google "china's ghost cities".) and all this is *before* the 3 gorges dam either disintegrates, killing millions, or just silts over, killing only hundreds of thousands. (that, too, is googleable.) so watch 'em like a hawk, never trust 'em, counter their every military adventure with more and greater force, sure. but FEAR 'em? why? anybody afraid of japan these days? or do they just tend to pity them?

    china'll be there in 40 years or less, you'll see.

  3. Bearster:

    What do you call the little people who are forced to work to support their overlords?

    Serfs or slaves.

  4. IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society:

    > what do you call the people who support those who so intelligently manage things from on top.

    I believe the word you're looking for is "proto-Morlock".

  5. Duane:

    BobZ: Here is some informative reading about the ghost cities:

    In short, it is hogwash.