Pitfalls of paying for child bearing in a capitalist society

By Brayton Cameron

Every so often I’m reminded of the stupidity of modern man. One of the most wonderful examples can be found on the Cosby Show from our good friend Elvin Tibideaux.

Elvin is the boyfriend and eventual husband of Sondra Huxtable, the oldest of the Huxtable children. More than being just a boyfriend, Elvin is the voice of stupid intolerant male chauvinism, and eventually he learns how wrong he is. However, at the point during the episode I watched recently, he had not quite achieved his progressive, forward thinking.

In the episode, he remarks on how he would not let Sondra pump gas because she would get dirty and smelly and that is not how it should be. In fact, he said, “Women shouldn’t smell like gasoline. Women should smell like sandwiches.” Of course in this simple statement lies the belief that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. This is something I do not agree with, but it is something that should be considered.

There are many people who feel the sting and understand the underappreciation of what is often called the housewife. There are thousands of homes in the United States wherein a woman is told she either has to, should or is expected to stay home and take care of the children and housework. This work is rarely — if ever — financially compensated.

Financial compensation for housewives’ hard work is not a new idea, but where the money is supposed to come from is a question which remains unanswered. Suggestions often entail recommending the government fund the perpetuation of American children and the American family values system. I wonder how good of an idea this really is.

Imagine a world in which the government actually pays for child rearing and, therefore, has a say in the entire process. Rather than starting a political debate about how horrible it would be to have our children raised by either Republicans, Democrats or both, I would rather focus on the impact of capitalism on paid child rearing.

In a standard capitalist society, one gets a raise or moves up the ladder of success by fulfilling certain obligations and responsibilities and then going above and beyond them. Were this the case with child raising, I would imagine some form of the ideal American child would be produced and all other parents must raise their kid in that manner. It would be the birth of a completely totalitarian society where a standardized form of child rearing is all the rage, because, after all, people have to make money to support the kids they are planning on having to make more money.

In the end, it would seem Elvin’s archaic thought process could potentially lead to a full-blown communist revolution. Or perhaps he just thinks sandwiches smell better than gasoline.