We don’t watch a lot of TV, but when we do, we tend to go for the less-gossipy, more fun kinds of reality show like Storage Wars or 17 18 19 Oh, I Give UP! Kids and Counting. We haven’t seen very many of the Duggars’ shows, just because Netflix hasn’t made very many of them available, but what we’ve seen is just wonderful. Word on the internet is that they have announced that baby number 20 is on the way! Word on the internet, of course, is a sketchy and frustrating thing, sometimes. A quick Swagbucks search told me everything I need to know about the world’s reaction to the newest blessing. It ain’t pretty.
The Deranged Housewife asked why people hate the Duggars so much. To which I replied:
You won’t hear me say anything negative about the Duggars! Except that maybe I think the bus would look better in bright red. I think the reason the Duggars really tick people off, aside from the joyful and wholesome Christian lifestyle, which is really foreign to most Americans, is that they put the lie to our culture’s myth that children are too expensive, too much trouble, impossible to deal with, etc. People just don’t know how to react to it when their whole narrative goes KABOOM like that.
Like most hatred, Duggar Derangement Syndrome (henceforth dubbed DDS) is a completely irrational reaction to something our culture simply doesn’t know how to parse. When a worldview is challenged, the natural reaction, for those who haven’t had much practice in defending their worldview, is anger. How DARE you try to yank the rug from under me that way! I’m enjoying the world the way I see it! It’s the most understandable thing in the world. Wrong. But understandable.
The Duggers expose many lies that our society is literally built on—lies that are really so much sinking sand, and our sinking society is starting to panic.
Lie 2: It takes a village. We have been trained by our own experiences with socialized education to believe that children are impossible to handle without the help of professionals. No one family can do it all or pay for it all. In fact, having children in the care of their own parents twenty-four hours a day is the weirdest thing imaginable in our brave new world. And yet, here are the Duggars daring to leave that system we’ve so carefully arranged “for the children” to fend for themselves. Worse, it’s working!
Lie 3: Childhood should be a time of complete carelessness and selfishness. The stupidest objection I hear to the number of children that the Duggars have is that the kids have to help one another because there aren’t enough parents to go around. Usually, the complaint is that the older kids are actually raising the younger ones. In a dysfunctional family, this would be true. I’ve seen it. In a loving family where the parents are in charge, this is really just something that our culture hasn’t witnessed, and thus can’t understand. It’s brothers and sisters loving one another. When I tell my son to hold his sister’s hand in the parking lot, to tie his brother’s shoes, or to fold his father’s laundry, he is not raising anybody. He is helping his fellow man, and learning that he is his brother’s keeper. We’ve been taught in our culture that helping the helpless is the government’s job, so I can see how that might be confusing.
Lie 4: Having babies is too dangerous for the average woman. Having babies is certainly a risk. I don’t deny that. So is walking on a busy city street or eating pretzels. But the Duggars prove that most of the medical rationale for an otherwise healthy woman not having “too many” children is a convenient excuse for encouraging women to drop out of procreation after the standard two-maybe-three babies. Pregnancy and childbirth are natural processes, but our culture treats them as disease.
Lie 5: It is impossible to raise children morally and in a way that they won’t rebel. I don’t want to tell on my social worker friend too much (about whom I commented more at Our Peaceful Homeschool Zoo), but it is very telling to me that she is now extremely annoyed, not only with the Duggars, but with their oldest son, who has the temerity to agree with them and live his life as they’ve taught him to. In fact, there are whole websites devoted to hoping that one of the daughters in particular will rebel. No one likes to see their own worldview fall apart, but masses of angry people on the internet are certainly hoping that the worldview of the Duggars won’t survive through their progeny!
Lie 6: Christianity is creepy. This is a lie for which we can thank Hollyweird. The only contact most Americans—even many nominal Christians–have with real Christianity anymore is through the media, in which every preacher is a hypocrite or a baby torturer. There are a lot of people who find the Duggars creepy when they start to sing hymns together. But it’s the dissonance of seeing how much they love Christ and how harmless they are that sets people off, not anything actually creepy that is happening. We are pre-programmed to distrust religious sincerity.
Lie 7: Sex and childbearing have nothing to do with one another. There’s just something so uncouth about allowing sex to produce anything but a nice feeling, and maybe a bond between couples, if both of them would like to continue the relationship. What the Duggars, and all reproducing couples do, is allow their love to mean something beyond the use of each other’s bodies. They remind people that the consequences of Godly sexual behavior are blessed, and that fruitless, promiscuous sex is an abomination.
Lie 8: Motherhood is a dead-end job. Another one I’ve covered elsewhere. Suffice it to say that Michelle Duggar is a paragon of contented motherhood, and it makes “feminists” crazy.
Lie 9: The Big Lie. At the bottom of Duggar-hatred is Christ-hatred. I’m convinced that if the Duggars were raising twenty kids because they think evolutionary processes demand that the fit reproduce, and they deem themselves to be more fit than most (and I’d say they are rather more fit than I am, at least!), there wouldn’t be much outcry, because in all other respects, it’s obvious that they’re doing a fantastic job. It’s the Jesus thing that really kills the world. It has ever been so:
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.—John 15:18