Philosophy can be divided into two main camps: ontology and ethics. Ontology is the study of Being, and ethics is the study of what constitutes a good life, given the nature of what we know about being. For example, if you think that nothing really is, and Being is an illusion in the minds of men, maybe it follows that men can do whatever they choose without lasting consequence. If you think that Being is absolutely, maybe you think that science is the path to freedom. If you think that Being is relatively, that is absolutely but mediated through meaning, maybe you are a social democrat.

In all of the lexicons that have spun off over time, through all of the different approaches to these basic questions, it is more obvious to me than ever, now that I have a newborn child, that the real question behind these preoccupations, the ontology of ontology, is just this: who gets the tender love? And conversely, who gets the tough love?

Those on the right put forth a mish mash of ontologies: God, nothingness, Marketing. But on ethics they all agree that tender love spoils people. Help, government assistance, these things destroy the animal spirits, making people dependent and lazy, despondent and unproductive. Productivity is measured in goods and services, of course, not in love or culture produced. I as a stay at home mom, for instance, am suddenly worthless because I make no money. The market deems me worthless.

At the same time, the Rebekah Mercers, the Kochs, the Murdochs and the Vampirish Whomevers choose to lavish their own offspring with nothing but assistance and tender love. They don't seem to risk the consequences of their brutal philosophy on their own downy babies. Apparently tough love is for other people's babies.

At the same time, even more remarkably, the cruel proponents of sticks over carrots want the tender love for themselves. It is never enough to gobble up all of the spoils and all of the wealth of their exploitation of other people's babies. They want to be revered. They want to be loved as if they were helpless and fragile, and they are literally angry that the left showers tender love on the poor and downtrodden instead of the strong. THIS they say, is the true evil.

If anybody really wants to know about the nature of humans and what kind of love is the best love for making better humans, perhaps they should ask the specialists chiefly responsible for making humans: mothers and caregivers. Tough love is laughable in many circumstances and it is essential in other circumstances. Teaching a child to become a person turns out to be a dance between these two approaches, applied judiciously.

In the end it isn't very surprising that the right preaches tough love, denigrates the whining snowflakes who want tender love, and then demands to be loved tenderly. Power is just the outcome of who has cornered the tender love, through commanding armies and enforcement arms, and who must labor under duress and be yelled at in harsh words regardless of their true value. The only solace for a philosopher who believes that Being is, is that love can never really be commanded, and those who try to extort love get a cheap substitute at best, at the cost of everyone else of course. Little solace.

Viewed thus the problems of injustice are not so insurmountable, however. Better solace maybe. If Being is and if people become, we can interact with nature to make the best people possible, and science is as valuable as people are malleable. This combination of philosophies is the new frontier, and whomever can articulate this in the plainest terms will be able to cut through the shape shifting bullshit of whining baby slave masters, the Whomevers.