On Monsters

I believe we do our children and the world a major disservice when we fail to recognize one salient point about the evildoers that haunt society: before they were monsters, they were victims. It is an extremely rare person who becomes a monster without a personal history of abuse and trauma. For the vast majority, being victimized in childhood was the first step in a long walk toward destruction. Take one of the worst monsters in history, Adolf Hitler. Did you know that he, like many children in Germany at that time, was severely beaten often by his father? He was forced by his need to cope to stop crying, to feel nothing, and to count the number of blows he received (32, to be exact), burying the pain as deep as he could. Listening to the Serial Killer podcast likewise proves that the world’s worst monsters were the recipients of the worst kind of abuses, as children and young people. This knowledge is not meant to excuse evildoers (from dictators to rapists to terrorists), but rather, to understand them better. More importantly, to make us reconsider our often disrespectful and violent (yet totally unnecessary) parenting practices. And that’s today’s two cents.

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Skyler J. Collins (Editor)

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on the Everything Voluntary podcast.

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H. ReardenH. ReardenSkyler J. Collins (Editor)Kent McManigalH. Rearden Recent comment authors
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H. Rearden
H. Rearden

If many people in Germany were beaten by their father it is possible that some of them were anti-National Socialists. It is also possible that there were National Socialists who were not beaten by their fathers. It is not a given that because someone was beaten by their father that they will victimize others and it is not a given that those who were not beaten by their father will not victimize others. I don’t see the point in attempting to “understand” why a bad person harms others. Psychiatrists have attempted to understand why criminals are criminals and have been… Read more »

Kent McManigal

If you want to create monsters, abuse a lot of kids. Most will not become monsters, but there’s a good chance some will. Even one is too many. For no reason other than someone decided that they were abused as a kid and “turned out alright”, so it must be OK.

H. Rearden
H. Rearden

The reason for not abusing a child is the same for not abusing an adult. It is wrong to harm others. The problem with this belief that abusers must have been abused as children is that there are abusers who were not abused abused as children. The fact is that there is no guarantee that because someone is not abused they will not abuse others. So there is a chance that anyone regardless of whether or not they were abused will become an abuser. Btw you might find this video clip of interest. I am not a fan of Dr.… Read more »