Could Your Parenting Prevent An Antichrist From Existing?

19 months.

In his New York Times bestseller, Eating The Dinosuar, Chuck Klosterman proposes a theory I’ve subconsciously thought about for a good number of years now:

“Let’s say you built a time machine to kill ‘Baby Hitler’ in 1889. Committing that murder would mean the Holocaust never happened. And that would mean you’d have no motive for going back in time in the first place, because the tyrannical Adolf Hitler, the one you despise, would not exist.”

Not only would you be killing a yet still innocent baby, who’s to say that an even worse, unstoppable antichrist wouldn’t have risen up during that same time and took his place? Like Super Shredder in the 2nd Ninja Turtles movie.

But forget about killing Hitler as an infant. Instead, as a friend on Facebook recommended, why not kidnap “Baby Hitler” and then raise him as your own, therefore causing him to never become the demonic monster we know him as today?

I’m not endorsing kidnapping infants here, but my friend did get me thinking:

Could pretty much any of us have prevented Hitler from becoming Hitler?

Sure, none of us parents are perfect. But I have to assume that if I raised a future Hitler, with my structured yet loving parenting style, things would have turned out a lot different.

This is an ultimate question of nature versus nature.

But am I wrong? As parents, does our influence not have enough power to raise up a child to be good?

And by “good” I mean “not Hitler.”

I realize this Dadabase post is so weird and abstract and potentially unrelatable (and offensive?) that it may easily never show up in the Most Read Posts or Most Recent Comments section at the top right side of this page.

Just the same, if there are any other parents out there willing to engage me in this hypothetical question, I would love to hear your take on it:

If you raised “Baby Hitler” (or any potential antichrist or at least a serial killer, for that matter) from infancy, would they turn out as a normal human being instead? Would your positive influence on an innocent child be able to prevent the outcome had the actual parent raised the child?

Okay, go…


Add a Comment
Back To The Dadabase
  1. by Not Hitler's Mom

    On June 28, 2012 at 12:11 am

    The things Hitler (or Saddam or Osama or whatever tyrant/terrorist you want to insert) did were the product of learned behaviors. At some point in their lives they learned a sense of entitlement that made them feel so much better than another kind of people that genocide was an acceptable consequence for those who didn’t meet whatever standards they set. They were all charismatic enough to develop enough of a following to put them in high positions and even convince then to ride their twisted coat tails. When a child throws a tantrum to get something they want, they’re doing it because they’ve learned it somewhere. They may have seen another child throwing a tantrum and thought it was a good idea or they may have thrown their own tantrum with the result of the toy/treat/attention they were seeking in the first place, and the parents’ reaction to the inappropriate behavior shaped the child’s decision about how they should behave. With the exception of a few individuals with pretty specific special needs, a person’s behavior is almost always a form of communication, and a great deal of a person’s learned behaviors come, or should come, from their parents. For a very mild example, my children have been taught that they are to hold the buggy while we are in the grocery store and not let go and walk off. Some parents teach their children a different behavior for going into public or skip that section altogether. Hitler didn’t become a Nazi dictator by himself. He had parents and a family and friends who had a hand in shaping him into what he became. Would a Catholic Nun still end up a Catholic Nun if they were brought up in a Buddhist home? Yes, possibly, but far less likely. Children are products of their environment, and this was no different in 1889.

  2. by Kendra

    On June 28, 2012 at 6:36 am

    It’s the classic question: nature or nurture? I think I believe if falls somewhere in the middle…