“If anti-rational memes are compelling me to coerce my children, and they prevent you criticising them and compel you to install them in other people, how can I ever take my children seriously instead of coercing them?!”
They only compel in the sense that any idea in your mind can. Notice that the very idea of their compelling you implies that rival ideas are also present in your mind. It may feel as if the compulsion is coming from outside our own mind, but it is actually inside our mind. It is a part of our own mind, not a magic demon possessing us.
Because they are ideas inside our mind rather than a supernatural force compelling us from outside, we can use our creativity to resolve the conflicts. Anti-rational memes are evolved to resist the relevant creative problem-solving, but it is not impossible. People do find ways all the time. We humans have dazzlingly creative, ingenious minds capable of far more than we tend to imagine.
We can look at the issue from different angles, seeing it in the wider context of our thinking. What values do we hold that conflict with coercion? What do we think of paternalism and even gentle coercion when we ourselves are the ones on the end of it? Or when our beloved sister is on the end of it?
There is every reason for hope! And the fact that we have noticed that coercing our children is problematic is progress compared to how things were in the static society1 of the past. (And hey, maybe the fact that coercionists these days seem to feel more need to justify their advocacy of coercion is itself progress?)
- If coercion has impaired my ability to correct errors, how is taking children seriously even possible?
- The rationalist mistake
- Is the purpose of taking children seriously to avoid the harm coercion would do?
1. David Deutsch’s book, The Beginning of Infinity, has fascinating stuff about static societies versus dynamic ones, anti-rational memes, and the evolution of creativity. If you have not already read it, you are in for a treat!
Sarah Fitz-Claridge, Taking Children Seriously FAQ: ‘If anti-rational memes are compelling me to coerce my children, what hope is there?!’, https://takingchildrenseriously.com/if-anti-rational-memes-are-compelling-me-to-coerce-my-children-what-hope-is-there/