Fetish of Innocence, Hung Tightly Round the Neck
fet·ish /ˈfɛtɪʃ, ˈfitɪʃ/ [fet-ish, fee-tish] noun
- 1. an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency.
- 2. any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion: to make a fetish of high grades.
- 3. Psychology. any object or nongenital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.
Children pass through a number of "critical developmental periods" between conception and the ages of 25 or 30. Those who are deprived of the nutrients, basic needs, and experiences necessary to develop the particular capacity of that developmental window will fail to develop. They may maintain their innocence. But if so, innocence becomes a perversion--a fetish--not a virtue. Imagine a society that intentionally prevented infants and toddlers from hearing human language. The children would grow up "innocent of language", but helpless to participate meaningfully in human society.
Child abuse, you say? Yes, but hardly worse than much of what goes on in the name of proper child-raising and educating using methods developed by the "very best" of educators and child psychologists, and administered under threat of deadly force by governments. Child abuse, yes.
What happens to a society that restricts the access of its children to the experiences which would allow them to develop as independent, self-sufficient, clear thinking and decisively acting adults? It grows very specialised, very brittle, very divided, and increasingly helpless to deal with threats from within and without. It grows charismatic leaders who promise to relieve voters of the burden of thinking for themselves. And we all know what comes next.