Sunday, February 13, 2011

Teenage pregnancy--is it all the fault of permissive Lib-er-uls?

I read a sad blog entry by an inner city teacher about how few of his kids had any future, and particularly about how many of the girls got pregnant--on purpose. He didn't say this, but that's a common phenomenon. Even the ones who know about birth control often want to have kids. A few kids, and it's welfare-o-rama. No need to work for chump change.

And kids love you. It's like making pets who can talk. And these are often people who haven't had anyone love them in their lives. Honestly you can't blame them for desperately wanting something most middle class people take for granted.

Here's my response to the entry and to its many comments, at least half of which were diatribes about how liberals were 100% responsible for this sorry state of affairs due to their promotion of immorality:

Anyone who thinks this is a purely a problem with them day-um libruls needs to read some Charles Dickens--or look at today's living condition for the poor and uneducated in the third world.

In particular they need to think about the fact that it was conservatives shipped our manufacturing jobs to China, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands etc., and then made sure that we wouldn't stop illegal immigration (which conservative rank and file don't want, of course--but their corporatist "leaders" do)--illegal immigration guaranteeing that whatever unskilled work was left in our country wouldn't pay enough to live on.

They need to think about the fact that the income disparity between 98% of Americans and the top 2% has increased by a factor of 20 since I was young. This enormous wealth transfer hollowed out the middle class, forcing wives into the workplace, and made life nearly impossible for the underclass. In the "recovery" from the 2000 recession, all of that recovery went into the pockets of the ultra-rich while everyone else's wages stagnated.

Moreover, the laws on the books nationwide discriminate heavily against the sorts of recreational drugs legislators don't use, with no relation to their actual relative danger.

But all this doesn't let liberals off the hook. True, the welfare state was an earnest attempt to solve the horrors of 19th century industrialization, and a lot--most--of it needs to be changed radically. However, every program spawns people who make their living off administering that program, and who will lobby for it endlessly.

And liberals are so terrified of being called racist that black and now Mexican hustlers have worked race-baiting for all it's worth--and it's been worth a lot.

And everyone, liberal and conservative, are to blame for quailing at any real solutions, because they'd be so draconian.

For example, how do you conservatives feel about a universal biometric database with DNA sample on record? Among other things, that would enable us to connect every child to a dad, honest or deadbeat.

How about facing the fact that not everyone was born with what's needed to live free? Some people require institutionalization--anything from a group home to full-blown asylums, depending on the severity of a person's mental problems. Crazy people are neither evil nor "differently mentally enabled." They're crazy, and we're on the hook for institutionalizing them humanely, not letting them run around buying guns and shooting people just because gun nuts think it's OK for nuts to have guns if that's the price of not regulating gun ownership.

And some people aren't crazy, but still lack mental equipment needed to live on their own successfully.

Today between a quarter and a third of prison inmates are mentally ill because conservatives believe mental illness is a moral decision and liberals believe nuts should have the same rights as anyone else.

And no one's willing to face the fact that schools can't fix society. Worse, we sacrifice the kids who can be saved in a hopeless effort to rescue those for whom it's too late.

Not that we have to be prescient. We just have to reserve schools for those who are willing and/or able to show up regularly and to let other kids get an education, putting the rest into workcamps euphemized as on the job training.

I taught in ghetto schools myself once upon a time, and the classes were contained riots because every one of them contained a handful of kids with fetal alcohol syndrome or some other defect that made them unable or unwilling to control their behavior. Keeping them in the class sacrificed every other kid there.

As for the fact that so many ghetto girls choose to have kids--I have a solution. Liberals and conservatives aren't going to like it, which says something already.

Let anyone who believes they can't look after themselves--or who doesn't have a proper home, and/or can't prove they have a means of supporting themselves--enter The System. Reserve welfare for those who are crazy or infirm (and who need institutionalization then). For the able bodied--and that includes teen mothers--when they present themselves to the state for care, the state becomes their surrogate parent and they surrender the right to have more kids (with contraceptive implants, to vote, and to sign contracts.

That is, they surrender the full rights of an adult citizen. The state provides them shelter, three meals a day, and work. If they won't work and are able bodied they go on the street, and if they become vagrant they enter the criminal system then.

In the workfare system they get 40 hours of work a week. Any kids they have get daycare while the parents work. And parents are expected to earn both their own keep that that of any kids they have.

This sounds conservative, but it's more expensive than giving them welfare and letting them fester in urban squalor. So no, conservatives won't like. And it takes away their rights, and conservatives love their rights, just like liberals do. They have that in common.

The trick is the same as when your child pretends to be sick to get out of school. Let them stay home but don't let it be fun.

Plus if they become the state's ward, the state gets to send them wherever their work is needed.

Anyone can leave the system whenever they wish, but then they have to acquire honest means of supporting themselves and their kids.

And when I say "them" I mean both the fathers and the mothers of any children.

Anyway, you get the drift. Nobody will enter The System because they think they'll get a free ride. They won't.

I know a Mormon missionary who spent 18 months in Mississippi and he came back discouraged--not about his religion, but about the underclass people he lived among there. He discovered that most of the girls--and I mean girls--planned on having four kids by the time they were 16 (!) for maximum welfare benefits, and then kicking back for the rest of their lives.

I guess that's an improvement on Dickens' 19th century England, the alternative conservatives proffer--but we can and should do better than that.

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