Monday, October 1, 2018

Mandatory Paternity Leave

If it’s such a great idea, why must we force people to do it? Why are we now thinking of forcing men to take time off when their wives have babies? It’s called mandatory paternity leave and Joanne Lipman assures us that it’s win-win-win-win. It’s good for the father; it’s good for the mother; it’s good for the baby; it’s good for business.

Are you suspecting that this argument, buttressed by social psychology, is really a con? Nevertheless, some "woke" are now forcing men to take time off. How comfortable are you with this notion that fathers and mothers should have no choice in this matter?

Most people understand that the experience of being a new mother and the experience of being a new father are not the same. It's too elementary to state. Most people understand that a mother’s presence is vitally important for a neonate. A father’s presence, not so much. Most people understand that a man who takes time off to change diapers will lose respect by his colleagues. In truth, men who take paternity leave or who spend too much time on childcare fall behind men who take less time off.

Of course, if you believe that gender differences are merely social constructions and that we must equalize all positions in society, you will accept the dire necessity to force people to conform to our beliefs. Those who believe that the workplace should have proportional representation of men and women and, of course, minorities want to engineer it by forcing people to live according to their ideology. They have not noticed that mothers continue to be mothers after the first few months of their children’s lives… and that they are more actively involved in their children’s lives. This also means that they are less involved in work. And less focused on their jobs.

It might not be fair. It might not be equal. But it is what it is. Are these social engineers now going to insist that women spend more time at work and less time caring for their children? That, after all, would be one logical outcome.

For Lipman and her ilk, saying that paternity leave is a career killer tells us that motherhood is a career killer. The reasoning neglects the simple fact that mothers and fathers are not the same thing. There is significant evidence that a mother’s brain is rewired during pregnancy in order to make them more attuned to the needs of an infant… that is, a being that cannot express needs through language.

Lipman suggests that a father who spends more time with a neonate will have a better bonding experience. One doubts the scientific basis of this all-too-convenient truth, but a man who is being forced to take time off from work, and to be subjected to disrespect and derisive comments might also feel resentful. Besides, how many women do you know who would happily hand off infant care to a man who is suffused with toxic masculinity?

Lipman is chagrined by the fact that the #MeToo movement has not produced more workplace equality:

And yet, all the talk has produced very little visible progress. Yes, some powerful men have lost their jobs. But in other ways, we’ve gone backward. The percentage of female CEO’s of S&P 500 firms has declined over the past year, to less than 5%. The global gender gap widened, as measured by factors including economic opportunity, in 2017 over the previous year, according to the World Economic Forum. In a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, the majority of employees said they’d seen no policy changes in their workplace since the #MeToo movement erupted.

Dare we mention that the purpose of business is to provide goods and services… at a profit. Business is in the business of producing wealth, not conforming to your silly ideals. Surely, women should have every opportunity to pursue their careers. But, if they choose to spend more time bringing up their children, we ought also to respect that choice.

As for #MeToo, it has presented women as either vulnerable victims or threats. Why did anyone ever imagine that filling the airways with anguished descriptions of horrific sex crimes was going to produce more respect for women as professionals? It is most likely to do just the opposite.

What bothers Lipman and what defies her feminist illusions is this: where nations offer paid family leave, women are much more likely to take it. Men are much less likely to take it. Ought we to respect their free decisions? According to Lipman, these outcomes do not confirm her ideology. Thus, they should not be allowed.

Obviously, if the man owns the company he can do what he wants. Witness Mark Zuckerberg, who set a bad example by taking paternity leave when his children were born. But, that is the exception, not the rule. In truth, men who take paternity leave are stigmatized and derided as weak and ineffective.

Do you think that male athletes should take time off from competition in order to do diaper duty? Do you think that male soldiers should be removed from their units when their wives have babies? What about an important executive, a CEO, for example? What about people who work from home?

What happens if a manager has a personal relationship with a client, a vendor or a customer. If the man is on paternity leave and the client, vendor or customer needs to communicate with him, what is the company going to say: that he is at home with his baby? How do you think that will go down? What makes you think that any male can easily be replaced with someone else on the job?

Lipman offers us a fine example of bad reasoning… it’s what happens when you ignore facts and embrace ideals:

If leave is normalized for new dads as well as for new moms, it’s difficult to stigmatize either one.

This is especially idiotic. New mothers are not stigmatized by taking time off to care for their children. Quite the contrary: they are stigmatized if they neglect or abandon their children, for whatever reason. And they will be stigmatized by other women. Why don’t we respect women’s judgment? Why is it so difficult for people to understand a simple fact, that all human societies have always understood, that fathers and mothers are not interchangeable.

And why, does Lipman seem to take it as a given that women can only be fulfilled if their careers have exactly the same arc as men’s. Why does she give no consideration to the effect a high intensity job will have on a woman’s ability to care for her children? Why does this not seem to matter to today’s feminists?

As for the notion that business will be more profitable if men take parental leave, if this is true, there is no reason to mandate it. If it’s better for business, the greedy predatory capitalists will happily embrace it. The marketplace will render the verdict. We do not need to mandate it or to force people to live their lives in conformity with anyone’s ideology.

Mandatory paternity leave is an idea that has come and that should have gone. Unfortunately, such seems not to be the case. Lipman is not arguing for what is better for business. She is arguing for what's best for her ideology. She says that it's the same, but it's not. You would have to be blind to think so.

Hopefully we are not going to have government bureaucrats force people to do what we want them to do in the name of such a specious ideal.


Anonymous said...

" the name of such a specious ideal." vs. "Hopefully we are not going to have government bureaucrats force people to do what we want them to do in the same of such a specious ideal."

Sam L. said...

It is amazing what idiocies people come up with. And wish to make laws of.