Consummate dilettantism!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Raising a Family Is *Not* the Most Difficult Job in the World

This Pelosi comment really infuriated me, so I ranted.

But as challenging as it is, nothing is as challenging as raising a family -- nothing.
The fact that well over half of American citizens attempt to do just that somehow renders her statement less than plausible. The difficulty of being a parent is often grossly exaggerated -- nothing is more challenging than raising a family? Really? Not developing nuclear weapons, not running a country, not reading ancient Sanskrit literature? Why, then, are there so many people employed in the former and not the latter?

Before you say that she's merely employing a bit of hyperbole, or that she's cynically grasping at the mommy vote, consider that one hears this from many, many people about their chosen professions (especially unionized professions). It's common to hear police and firefighters and soldiers talk about the ludicrous difficulty of their jobs and how they deserve more respect than anyone else. What is so grating is how any challenge is immediately confronted with "You don't know what I do everyday," or even "You couldn't even begin to imagine the difficulty of my job." These statements effectively bludgeon people into submission: Who would deny that police, firefighters, soldiers, and mothers all play important roles in our society? (For they do: These jobs are critical, the very foundations of modern life.) These are such big constituencies that no one ever does, and so nonsense like this goes unchecked. Most people could make at least a decent stab at raising a family; very, very few could comprehend the nature of our universe as Einstein could.

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