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Oh, Grow Up!

I've often mentioned my dear friend Candy -- she's the born-again Christian, happily-married, home-schooling mother of five I've known for a bit over a decade or so. She's far from a Puritan, however -- witness the little joke she sent me last Valentine's Day.

Well, last night she sent me the news about that Portland, Maine's school that is offering contraception and birth control to girls as young as 11 -- without the parents' knowledge, let alone consent. Her first comment (as a Masshole turned Maineiac) was "I'm so glad I homeschool."

I had the TV on in the background, and I'd neglected to switch off Fox News before Bill O'Reilly started. He, too, is all over this story. He's convinced that this is the latest battle for the "SPs" (and that means, I think, the "secular progressives") in their fight to destroy the traditional family -- a theme he's using to flog his latest book.

I'm a big believer in certain aphorisms -- they aren't always correct for every situation, but as a general rule they're pretty safe bets. And one of my favorites is "never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." Or greed. Or laziness. Or any of a wide assortment of other human foibles.

This move in Maine combined with a bunch of other events I've noted in recent years and pulled into a single cohesive idea -- a "grand unified theory," as it were -- that I think ties it all together:

Far too many people -- largely baby boomers -- are stuck at a permanent adolescence.

They don't want to be grownups. They want all the rights and privileges of adulthood, but shy away at some of the attendant responsibilities and burdens that come hand-in-hand with them.

They want to be parents, but don't want to deal with the harder, more challenging, more difficult aspects of parenthood. They don't want to deal with their children's developing sexuality, so they try to get someone else to handle that part. A normal adolescent would try to foist the burden on their parents, but that doesn't work here -- so they turn to the government, the "nanny state," to do the dirty work.

They want their own sexual freedom, but they don't want to live with the likely consequences (children, disease, social stigma, etc.) So they push for abortion on demand, massive public funding for STDs, try to push the boundaries of what is "socially acceptable," and so on.

This is compounded by the explosion of college education in the 1960's. Among all the other effects, it gave a lot of people who were decidedly lacking in maturity enough of an intellectual veneer to construct elaborate excuses to rationalize their own shirking of responsibility.

Abortion is not something shameful, an admission of a private failing in taking responsibility for oneself -- it is a right and a "choice" to be celebrated and protected.

Having children you can't support on your own is not your fault, it's society's fault -- and society's responsibility to make sure they're adequately supported and raised.

Taking care of your own health and well-being is too burdensome. We want miracle pills and quick fixes, and we want someone else to pay for them. So "health care" becomes a right -- especially when it's redefined to mean "health care where someone else picks up at least a part of the cost."

Sexual license among minors fits in to this theme, too -- it's an expression of adolescence. Teenagers believe that they should be able to fool around all they like, and these overgrown adolescents playing at being parents don't want to feel like hypocrites by denying their children what they believe they themselves were entitled to.

The SCHIP bill that President Bush vetoed also ties in here. Parents don't want to have to make the hard choices when it comes to supporting their families, so they want Mommy and Daddy to come in and fix things.

But, as a society, we don't have a Mommy and Daddy. Instead, we have the government -- and the government does, largely, whatever enough of the people demand it do. If enough of the people demand that the government take on the responsibilities they don't feel like assuming, then it will do so as best it can.

This was perfectly captured by John Edwards in a recent debate just one town away from me. As quoted by Jeff Jacobi, the Boston Globe's "house conservative:"

Today, on education as on so much else, the Democrats sing from a different hymnal. When the party's presidential candidates debated at Dartmouth College recently, they were asked about a controversial incident in Lexington, Mass., where a second-grade teacher, to the dismay of several parents, had read her young students a story celebrating same-sex marriage. Were the candidates "comfortable" with that?

"Yes, absolutely," former senator John Edwards promptly replied. "I want my children . . . to be exposed to all the information . . . even in second grade . . . because I don't want to impose my view. Nobody made me God. I don't get to decide on behalf of my family or my children. . . . I don't get to impose on them what it is that I believe is right." None of the other candidates disagreed, even though most of them say they oppose same-sex marriage.

I think that, chronologically, I'm in the "sweet spot" to see this. Next week I'll turn 40 -- and I have chosen to not have children. I swathed that choice in "responsibility" and attributed it to my own medical history -- I have a host of genetically-linked ailments, and don't want to afflict them on a child -- but I have to admit that there is a strong element of fear there. I have a fairly decent grasp of the responsibilities involved in having children, and it scares me.

But I'm also at the point where my peers are becoming not just parents, but grandparents. My best friend has no biological children (his first wife was terminally immature, his wife now came with her own kids), but there's a charming little boy who is, technically, his step-grandson. And at least one of my high school classmates had a child before graduation, a child that now would be in their early 20's and certainly could be a parent themselves. It's slightly unnerving.

It all boils down to freedom, and once again I'm going back to David Gerrold, who gave the absolute best definition of freedom I've ever encountered: "Freedom is the right to be responsible for one's actions." For good or ill, if you don't own your deeds and their consequences, you're not free. If you can't take the blame, you can't take the glory. Success tastes hollow unless it comes with the knowledge that you risked failure.

That is the ultimate culmination of the perpetual adolescents -- a life of rewards and benefits and "rights" that come without risk, without effort, and -- ultimately -- without meaning.

I have had many successes and many failures in my life. And on both sides, the ones that mean the most -- both to me personally, and as substantial effect of my life -- are the ones that I earned. Yes, on occasion circumstances and fate have conspired to give me rewards I didn't deserve and setbacks that I could not possibly have avoided (certain physical health issues come to mind), but those I have chosen to simply deal with and move on.

For god's sake, people, you're adults now. Act like it.


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Comments (11)

I've been waiting for this ... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

I've been waiting for this to arrive here. I am convinced that these kinds of programs are designed to make it easier for faculty to have sex with the hotter students.

That's your secular progression in action.

Virtually ALL parents USED ... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Virtually ALL parents USED TO send their children off to school with this message:
"Listen to the Teachers and all the other adults at school, and trust them!"

We did.

We would NOT do it again (if our kids were still in school).

This MIDDLE SCHOOL in Maine is sending a VERY CLEAR message: "Sex, as early as age 11, is fine with us...and you don't have to tell your parents!"

btw, here is the LAW in Maine:
Gross Sexual Assault: Any person engages in a sexual act with any person under 14 years old is a Class A Crime

therefore, EVERY 11-13 year old girl (i.e. EVERY girl in Middle School) who is given birth control pills by the school is either:
- already a victim of "Gross Sexual Assault"
- ABOUT TO BE a victim of "Gross Sexual Assault"

and the school is complicit in this crime!

This is the state of the cl... (Below threshold)

This is the state of the clashing ideologies where one portion of this society believes it is the individuals responsibility to independenly provide for the guidence of our children.

On the other side, it is believed that this responsibility should be provided for and relegated by our government.

We can ask parents.....who's the dependent under the latter?

"Freedom is the right t... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

"Freedom is the right to be responsible for one's actions."

I believe a more precise definition may be: Freedom means the ability to exercise choice without coercion. The cost of freedom is accepting the consequences of those choices.

If you choose not accept the consequences of your choices, you do not deserve your freedom.

Dr John has it right. When ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Dr John has it right. When will the teachers/administrators set their sites on even younger children? Is 7 old enough for a teacher to have sex with? Why don't they just join the idiot they just caught having sex with a preschooler and filming it? When I see things like this followed by 'Stark raving mad' in congress, (and people support this insame man?) I know for a fact the country is toast. Just waiting for someone to flip the switch.

This is absolutely disgusti... (Below threshold)
Sunshine:

This is absolutely disgusting and I will echo the words of Candy......I too, am glad I homeschool!

It's more then just freedom... (Below threshold)
engineer:

It's more then just freedom. People don't want the cost assocoiated with responsibility. (Dumb things like keeping your dog out of your neighbor's yard, raising your children, etc.)

Things, anything, that comes without cost are not appreciated. Just look at lottery winners. Most are bankrupt within three years. Oprah tried a few years ago to help people rise to a higher economic and social level by giving them money. When the experiment was over the people complained that the money wasn't still flowing in to them.

I use to grow vegetables and would bring my extras in to give to my fellow workers. The ones who paid for the vegetables always took them home and used them. The ones who said that they wanted them, but didn't pay anything for them often left them to rot in the refrigerator at work.


"Yes, absolutely," former s... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

"Yes, absolutely," former senator John Edwards promptly replied. "I want my children . . . to be exposed to all the information . . . even in second grade . . . because I don't want to impose my view. "

Doesn't want to impose his view? He endorsed exactly that, in reading content to students that the parents might not approve of. And let us not forget, despite his actions, his words at least get it right - he has no business imposing a view on other people's children, however their parents certainly do.

"I don't get to decide o... (Below threshold)

"I don't get to decide on behalf of my family or my children. . . . I don't get to impose on them what it is that I believe is right."

Wow.

I'm speechless.

Statutory Rape is sex under... (Below threshold)
DB:

Statutory Rape is sex under the age of consent which ranges from 14 to 16. So giving an 11 year old the means to do it has to be contributing to the delinquency of a minor. I look at is in the last 3 years six school children were caught doing a B&E. In order to fix the issue we are now giving every child lock picks, gloves and proper instructions on how to accomplish this act without being caught. Also we know best so parents do not get involved.
I would like to know what the reading, writing and math scores are for these students. Let have schools spend time on education instead of social engineering.

Government schools are a di... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Government schools are a disgrace and a total waste of taxpayers money.

The Neo-Comms have reached their goal in taking over education through the NEA.

Government Education is really Communist Indoctrination.

Home schooling or vouchers are the only answers.




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