Move Out of the Basement

by Sarah A. Hoyt
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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

When I was a hardcore, Libertarian Party Libertarian, back in the nineties we had a joke that riffed on the “evil Kirk” shtick of moving out of your parents basement and taking your posters off the wall… It went like this: The Democrats want to be your mommy; the Republicans want to be your dad. We want you to move out of the basement and get a job.

I hadn’t thought of that in years. But this morning, in the Discord group, someone posted a small snippet of a video about how Communism is the politics of toxic femininity. They’re not precisely wrong, but it doesn’t quite fit.

And then it hit me. Yeah, we all know that communists claim fascists were on the right, because Stalin said so. In fact they’re both flavors of socialism and more like each other than not. Which both makes the visceral hatred completely understandable and makes the absolute certainty they’re opposites bizarre.

Yes, sure, some of it is the press and historians who of course wholeheartedly believe Stalin. But that’s not all.

And finally it hit me. You see, I’m now on the other end of that meme. My kids are raised and though they both did live in the basement for a period when they both needed financial help they never really lived in the basement in the full sense (and we had an independent basement apartment in the former house, to be fair, with its own entrance, though they often used the inside one when it was dark, because there were bears in the neighborhood and they were less likely to be up front in the light. Um… real bears. Brown bears to be exact though one looked big enough to be a grizzly.)

However, even now, with them just over and just under thirty, I have to constantly rein in toxic motherhood. Which to be fair is just standard culture in Portugal, so that makes it harder.

There is a fine line between being supportive, and being a family that looks out for each other — the good portion of large Latin families — and being … well, the word for being related to each other in Portuguese is to “belong to” each other. And at least when i was growing up, regardless of what the law said, the police would haul kids who were of age but unmarried back to their families if they “ran away.” And even now, parents have an amount of say over the household and effects and financial decisions of their married children that appalls me. One thing is to give advice, another to go over and redecorate someone else’s house because you disapprove of their taste, for instance. But it is permissible in Portugal and probably, honestly in much of the world. Romeo and Juliet makes more sense in those cultures, because the idea of the kids rebelling and choosing their own partner retains the frisson of shock, even if — even in Portugal — parents haven’t chosen the kids’ spouses for a long time.

So my temptations might be higher than other people’s. And part of the problem is that I really like the kids, and enjoy their company. No. It is a problem because I want to spare them pain and suffering. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I made. Etc.

Which is fine if what I’m doing is facilitating things, but not if it is browbeating them into complying, or somehow forcing them to do what I think best. (I can’t really do that. They’re both bigger than I. But this is an analogy.) And even on the facilitating things, you have to be careful, because if you make your place/support a feather bed, they’ll leave forever in the basement, never do anything, never live their own lives.

Such style of mothering in the Freud obsessed seventies was called Castrating. This is not wrong, because it is a form of extreme mothering, that accepts no limits and doesn’t understand when the child should by rights separate.

And we all know about the extreme forms of Fatherhood. You have the right of life and death over your children, and you order them about. You expect them to be perfectly regimented and go to extremes of heroic obedience to make you proud.

If you think about it, the two competing forms of socialism — national socialism and international socialism (the second is a lie. It was more Russian national socialism. The only thing international about it is that everyone was supposed to revere and adore mother Russia.) — were actually Toxic Fatherhood and Toxic Motherhood.

Neither of them recognized that adult human individuals could make their own way or choose their path, or even earn their own livelihood. Or at least choose what they worked for and how much they’d be paid. Or what they could work at. Essentially the essence of adulthood is to fend for yourself and make your own decisions. Both forms of socialism deny people the ability to do that. (Even the soft socialism of “social democracy” that Europe indulges in is Toxic Motherhood with a happy face. It’s “But dear, you shouldn’t have knives. They’re nasty. Little boys don’t need to defend themselves. Let mommy do.” But the police still stands by to disarm you. So it’s a distinction without a difference.)

However, they’re different in how they do it, and what they expect you to do.

The supposed international socialism sells itself as being so caring. Mommy adores you. She wants to smother you in kisses. No, no, you must not be better than your little sister. It hurts her feelings. So you shouldn’t walk because she can’t. Is it really so much effort to crawl? See how happy it is when you also crawl.”

It uses weaponized empathy to convince you that no only shouldn’t you struggle away — the government is only doing what’s best for you — but that you owe everyone around you handicapping and even hurting yourself in order to make others happy, or even no embarrassed, or not worried or….

Socialism of the kind that viewed itself on the way to communism is a blanket with happy faces snuggling everyone till it smothers them.

In the end, because humans tend to not do well in perpetual infantilization, it always turns on humans and starts killing them batch lots — yes, you ARE the carbon they want to eliminate — rather than letting them go.

It’s the jealous control of bad mothers. “If I can’t keep you, no one can have you.” and “You’re better off dead than outside, in the cold cruel world without mommy.” and the vicious defense of she bear with cubs when she decides you’re too nasty to be hers, and you’ll hurt her precious babies (how the left behaves to anyone else.)

It is the “love” that fills cemeteries — Canada is now considering euthanasia for the homeless, because after being coddled into uselessness they’re useless. Making them shape up would be cruel, but killing them is humane and now they’ll be safe forever — and wrecks civilization.

It also explains the communists/socialists/greens/democrats love of inefficient forms of energy over safe and clean nuclear. And their hatred of space. They want to push us to an earlier phase where we’d be better controlled, stop us walking away from them, keep us bound in the nursery. Because mommy loves baby soooooo much. Baby would be better off dead than without mommy.

The Fascist/National socialist model, which to fair is slightly more functional than the international socialist model, in the sense that toxic fatherhood allows some form of adulthood, or at least the appearance of it, and which only exists now in former communist societies (the poor things, they have no idea how to grow up) like Russia and China, is … well…. toxic, but in a very masculine way.

The National Socialists want you to toughen up and be a credit to them. They brag about you all the time. Both socialist regimes expect vast amounts of praise of themselves by their captives, but national socialism praises the captives too. Provided they’re perfect, of course. Which means the people better tell the government what it wants to hear or there will be spankings.

There is usually much talk of how tough the people are. Taking away of “soft” things like excess (by the father’s estimate) food or clothing, but not to make you infantile, but to toughen you up. There is much emphasis on being machine-like and perfect. And of course being good fighters in defense of the country/polity. Not yourself, because you really belong to father-state.

You’re allowed to own things, instead of those being distributed so no one feels bad, but you have to use the things the way father government wants or they will take your things and give them to someone more worthy. (So, you really don’t own them, really.)

You’re supposed to perform and do things, but only as Father Government dictates, and in exchange Father government will give recompense for being a good boy (you’re all supposed to be good boys, since women are fairly irrelevant in this. So even if they say they’re for women, and the heroic women who have children, the women are supposed to behave as disciplined, production-and-results obsessed men.

National socialism, Father chooses the objectives, and you’re supposed to fall in line and perform to the best of your ability for the glory and the honor.

The truth though is that both these forms of toxic parenthood are more alike than not, no matter that they think they are absolutely different from each other.

Left untended they both end in mass deaths, to cull out those bad children who aren’t extremely compliant to their parents’ will.

And if they go on long enough they both end in the infantile enslavement of feudalism.

Like the more literal toxic motherhood and toxic fatherhood, they both should be shunned and reproached. Because both are evil and both deny humans the right to be … human and serve their own lawful individual purposes.

Both need to stop and let humanity move out of the basement and off to its destiny.


Reprinted from According to Hoyt for May 20, 2023

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