Life and death in America

The battle lines are being drawn ever more starkly in this country, between those who believe in the sanctity of life, and those who believe it to be just another disposable commodity.

Pro-abortion activists believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg is their last hope of protecting the travesty known as Roe v. Wade.  And perhaps they’re right.  Interestingly, the “Notorious RBG” hasn’t been seen in public in over a month, having missed several oral arguments at the Supreme Court due to health issues (out of character for her).  Has anyone done a wellness check on her lately?  Some thought Tuesday’s State of the Union address might confirm whether she’s still an active Supreme Court Justice or we’re seeing a Democrat reenactment of the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s.”  But now we’re told she’ll be skipping it due to a schedule conflict.  How… convenient.

Sensing their time is short, abortionists are moving quickly to emplace laws at the State level that would allow the slaughter of the unborn to continue regardless the fate of the Roe precedent.  In their haste, they are dropping any pretense this is somehow about making abortion “safe, legal and rare,” as the tagline used to go.  No, this flurry of activity is about making abortion available on demand at any time, for any reason…

…including just after birth:

Virginia’s governor has drawn backlash after suggesting that a pregnancy could be terminated after the baby’s birth, as the state debates a bill relaxing restrictions on third trimester abortions.  Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, made the shocking remarks in an interview with WTOP-FM on Wednesday, as he attempted to explain a Democrat delegate’s earlier remarks.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist(!), described a hypothetical situation where a severely deformed newborn infant could be left to die.  He said that if a woman were to desire an abortion as she’s going into labor, the baby would be delivered and then ‘resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue’ between doctors and the mother.

So does this mean that for a period of time after a clump of cells fetus baby leaves the womb and draws breath it is still fair game for abandonment and death?  How long is that period?  Hours?  Days?  Weeks?  What if an impaired child affects a mother’s “mental health” when it reaches two years old?  The current crush of new laws go to great lengths to remove criminal penalties for killing an unborn child while assaulting the mother.  Activists correctly realized the contradiction in charging “fetal homicide” while still permitting abortion.  Their solution is to completely dehumanize the unborn in the eyes of the law, so they only become a “person” when born to a woman who wants them.  “Women’s rights” do not include being allowed to play God.

We’re constantly berated that nobody has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. But an unborn child is not the woman’s body. It is a distinct individual, with its own DNA, fingerprints, and futureAny person’s choices are limited by society to the extent they impact others, and this, above all, should be no exception.  Aside from rape, every woman exercises her ‘choice’ in this matter by choosing to abstain from, or engage in, sexual activity.  Abortionists like to “what if” all manner of horrific but statistically insignificant scenarios, but the conclusion is inescapable the overwhelming majority of abortions are simply birth control after the fact, at the cost of a human life.

It’s only a small step, not a slope, from this point to arguing that any inconvenient life can be terminated.  The concept of “assisted suicide” already allows people to end their own life if they find it “too painful.”  But last year the Netherlands began an investigation into a doctor who allegedly had family hold a patient down while he inserted a fatal IV drip against her will.

I commented recently on the willingness of political opponents now to say things that would have been considered beyond the pale just a generation ago: “Put the MAGA hat kids in the woodchipper,” “Burn their school down,” and of course an alleged comedian holding a simulated severed head of the president.  Add this to the general devaluation of life that abortion and euthanasia represent, and we have an explosive cocktail indeed.  Earlier generations of Marxists had no qualms about “breaking a few eggs” in the quest for their socialist paradise.  Given the opportunity, I suspect their ideological descendants today would feel the same way.

Still wonder why many of us are determined to protect the right to bear arms?  In a culture of death, the means of self-defense are essential.

Do you know what direction your State is headed on this issue?  Will it protect the first heartbeat, or enable the murder of a person on the verge of birth?  How will you help ensure your State chooses life?

When the State plays god

When a government tries to control every aspect of life, the Law of Unintended Consequences isn’t far behind. Exhibit A: China, which from 1980 to 2015 ruthlessly enforced a “one-child policy:”

China’s population shrank last year for the first time in 70 years, experts said, warning of a “demographic crisis” that puts pressure on the country’s slowing economy…

China’s median age was 22 in 1980. By 2018, it was 40. That will rise to 46 in 2030 and 56 in 2050. In the US, the median age was 30 in 1980 and 38 in 2018. In 2030, it will be 40, and 44 in 2050. India, by comparison, had a median age of 20 in 1980 and 28 in 2018.

Get that? By mid-century, half of China’s population will be 56 or older. There will be many more years of population decline ahead. Why? Because after two generations of using everything from fines to abortion and forced sterilization to enforce one child per family, single-child or childless families are now the Chinese social norm:

Northeast China – Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin provinces – has a population of about 109 million, and its socio-educational level is several years ahead of the country average. The fertility rate in northeast China was only 0.9 in 2000 and 0.56 in 2015. This means that the next-generation population in this region is only a quarter the size of the last generation.

Demographers consider a fertility rate of 2.1 (children per woman) to be the “replacement” rate, neither increasing or decreasing a country’s population.  A fertility rate of 0.56 roughly means only 1 in 4 women of childbearing age have a child!  Absent an extraordinary event, China is well established on the road to demographic and economic decline previously pioneered by Japan.

Japan’s economic crisis was essentially a demographic crisis. The decline in young people in the labour force has led to a shortage in manufacturing: the workforce employed in industry decreased from 22.9 million in 1992 to 17 million in 2017, and the workforce is ageing, leading to a decline in production and innovation. As a result, Japan’s manufacturing exports as a share of the global total declined from 12.5 per cent in 1993 to 5.2 per cent in 2017, and the number of Japanese firms ranked in the Fortune Global 500 fell from 149 in 1994 to 52 in 2018.

In any society, an increase in the number of elderly leads to a drop in savings, and a decrease in the labour force leads to a decline in return on investment, which reduces the investment rate…

Since 2000, China’s total fertility rate has been lower than that of Japan. The average in 2010-2016 was 1.18 in China and 1.42 in Japan. This means China’s ageing crisis will be more severe than Japan’s, and its economic outlook bleaker.

In Japan’s case, the demographic crisis was precipitated by cultural changes. Women found new opportunities outside the home and began marrying later… if at all.  Unwed parenting still carries social stigma in Japan, so this had a dramatic effect. Add to that the notorious Japanese work ethic of self-destructive loyalty to a corporation, and it’s easy to understand why professional couples have been also reluctant to have children for more than a generation.

China, however, will have to face the fact its government prevented or aborted the next generation. But before we look down on our noses at them, it’s important to recognize the impact of our own government’s actions. Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, millions of babies have been voluntarily aborted in the United States. In this era of heated debate over immigration, legal or otherwise, it’s significant to realize that without such immigration, the population of the United States and of most Western European nations would be in decline as well.  That doesn’t mean I support the ongoing invasion of the U.S., however.

The future belongs first to those who show up.  It looks very likely the world powers of today have sown the seeds of their own overthrow, and are destined to be replaced.  Groups have been dispossessed of their patrimony and replaced before.  Perhaps reservations await the descendants of those who developed the concept for the original Native Americans.  History has a knack for that kind of irony.

Doing the jobs parents won’t do

This is truly Orwellian:

The National Science Foundation has committed $10 million to build robots that will act as “personal trainers” for children, in an effort to influence their behavior and eating habits.

The project will develop a “new breed of sophisticated ‘socially assistive’ robots,” designed to help children “learn to read, appreciate physical fitness, overcome cognitive disabilities, and perform physical exercises,” according to a news release by Yale University when the grant was first announced in 2012.

“Just like a good personal trainer, we want the robots to be able to guide the child toward a behavior that we desire,” said Brian Scassellati, a computer science professor at Yale and principal investigator for the study.

“What we want to do is move these robots out of the laboratory and into schools and homes and clinics, places where we can directly help children on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

The NSF grant said the project is necessary due to “critical societal problems.”

“The need for this technology is driven by critical societal problems that require sustained, personalized support that supplements the efforts of educators, parents, and clinicians,” the grant said.

Scassellati envisions the robots influencing nearly every aspect of children’s lives.

The ‘personal trainers’ children need are their parents.  And it’s a sad commentary that so few are doing the job that engineers are getting involved.  And make no mistake: this is an engineering project.   This isn’t just about getting kids to eat their veggies.  It’s about providing them with a constant companion that will program the little minds with whatever it’s been programmed to spout.  Imagine a mechanical ‘coach’ reciting the secular left’s many mantras night and day at its human charge, and you can see the potential.

Ultimately, though, no mechanical device can provide children with what they need most: love.

Scores of studies show that many of the ‘critical societal problems’ we face today are rooted in the breakdown of the traditional family, which every corner of our society seems literally hell-bent on destroying.  The family is God-designed and ordained out of His wisdom.  If our leaders were truly serious about aiding effective childhood development, they’d seek to contribute to the restoration of that social fabric.  Since the family is a competing source of authority, though, that will never happen.  The nature of the State is not to rest until all other sources of power and cohesion–church, family, community — are brought to heel.

Just remember as these autocratic automatons are rolled out: “it’s for the children.”

The cost of family destruction

There have been many studies showing the impact of divorce on children, particularly boys. National Review finds a common thread in recent tragedies:

Another shooting, another son of divorce. From Adam Lanza, who killed 26 children and adults a year ago at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., to Karl Pierson, who shot a teenage girl and killed himself this past Friday at Arapahoe High in Centennial, Colo., one common and largely unremarked thread tying together most of the school shooters that have struck the nation in the last year is that they came from homes marked by divorce or an absent father. From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks” involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.

This is, as Al Gore would call it, an “inconvenient truth” for those who support easy, no-fault divorce. As the linked article acknowledges, it’s true that plenty of young men navigate a fatherless childhood and overcome it. But can we at least admit that expecting them to do so is placing them at a disadvantage that is no fault of their own? In a society that jumps through so many hoops allegedly “for the children,” why is it that we don’t place as much emphasis on strengthening families? Plenty of strangers would take a parent to task for feeding a Twinky or Big Gulp to a child… but where is the outrage over leaving that child with only one parent?

In a stable civilization, the family is valued as the foundation upon which all other relationships are constructed. In a degenerating society–such as ours–the State sees the family (…and the Church, and private organizations, etc) as competitors and a threat to its increasingly consolidated power. So it’s not surprising that the government is more concerned with treating the symptoms of the problem–such as mass shootings–rather than the possible causes.

Divorce is but one area in which we have sown the wind for three or four decades. Is it any wonder we are reaping the whirlwind?

The heart of the problem

Detroit’s interim police chief weighs in:

“America has a problem with guns, but the epicenter seems to be here in Detroit,” Interim Detroit Police Chief Chester Logan said at a news conference Thursday, as city officials reported 386 criminal homicides in 2012, the highest since 1992.

“As the chief of police in the city of Detroit, I take a certain amount of blame for the spiraling gunplay in the city,” he said, “but one of the things you should realize, and everybody here in this room should realize, is that gunplay is a national problem.”

This is focusing on the symptom rather than the cause.  America doesn’t have a firearm problem… it has a family problem, as USA Today examines:

All but one of the 62 mass killings in the past 30 years was committed by boys or men.

For boys, the road to successful manhood has crumbled. In many boys’ journey from a fatherless family to an almost all-female staff elementary school such as Sandy Hook, there is no constructive male role model.
Adam Lanza is reported to have gone downhill when divorce separated him from his dad. Children of divorce without enough father contact are prone to have poor social skills; to struggle with the five D’s (depression, drugs, drinking, discipline and delinquency); be suicidal; be less able to concentrate; and to be aggressive but not assertive. Perhaps most important, these boys are less empathetic.

There are few things a culture does as important as raising children. We can’t continue to fail half of them.

I believe the author is onto something here, although I disagree (strongly) with his proposal for more government intervention via some “Council on Men and Boys.”  Government has already played a key role in the breakdown of the traditional family, via which boys used to be groomed into men.  The most important thing it could do to help solve the problem is to remove its perturbing paternal influences.   The debilitating effects of family breakdown were evident as early as the 1965 Moynihan Report.  The “War on Poverty,” just then getting under way, exacerbated many of the trends by inserting government as a parental-type provider, instead of encouraging nuclear families to remain strong and independent.  The feminists of the day may have been able to chant “I don’t need no man,” but it was largely because they could go to Uncle Sugar for support, and he was less demanding in the commitment department.  At least for a while…

At the same time, the portrayal of fatherhood began its sad decline from the “Father Knows Best” model to the “Married… with Children” mockery.  Society found humor in portraying fathers as either clueless morons or overbearing tyrants.  So where is a young boy to turn for guidance as he navigates to manhood?  Left adrift to pop culture and his peers, it’s a wonder we don’t have MORE nihilistic lone wolves than we already do.

Getting government to step aside and stop trying to perform roles it was never intended to take on is one thing.  But in its place, men will have to step back up to the mandate they have largely been allowed to shirk for a couple generations: that of leading and molding the future.  They need to show that being a man isn’t about trash talk, physical prowess or sexual conquests.  It’s about mastering self-control, and harnessing one’s capabilities to productive purposes… including raising the next generation.  Only when that model again becomes the norm will we see any progress on this front.  Anything else will merely continue to treat the symptoms as more precious lives are wasted for lack of a guide to show the way.

Quote of the day…

In a discussion on why we need to reduce government spending:

Because that old world is over. . . .

A half-century experiment in draping steam­ship anchors around the necks of the productive class and expecting them to run a four-minute mile has ended in failure. The confiscation of rights and property, the moral impoverishment of generations caused by the state’s usurpation of parental obligations, the elevation of a credentialed elite that believes academia’s fashions are a worthy substitute for knowledge of history and human nature, and above all the faith in a weightless cipher whose oratorical panache now consists of looking from one teleprompter screen to the other with the enthusiasm of a man watching someone else’s kids play tennis–it’s over, whether you believe in it or not. It cannot be sustained without reducing everyone to penurious equality, crippling the power of the United States, and subsuming the economy to a no-growth future that rations energy.

To which some progressives respond: You say that like it’s a bad thing.

Correct now, or correct later

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15

A Texas town just outside Fort Hood has decided to bring back an old-fashioned weapon to instill a little more discipline in the increasingly unruly student body: the paddle.

The discipline problem is much better than it’s been in years,” school board president Steve Wright, who runs a construction business, told the Washington Post. He credited the new punishment and other discipline programs.

Parents are firmly behind the new slap on the backside.

So naturally, Uncle Sam has to involve himself:

Besides Texas, corporal punishment is still legal in 19 states, mostly in the South. It’s use is waning (Ohio stopped last year) and Congress may consider a federal ban.

Why do I never see articles say things like “runaway social program spending has led to spiraling state budget deficits in 14 states, mostly in the North?” Seems when the South is highlighted, it’s to damn a particular practice or belief by association. After all, everyone knows they’re all a bunch of ignorant, intolerant, racist hicks, right? Sadly, this meme is so well installed in the media conversation, the town mentioned above preemptively tried to defend itself:

“We’re rural central Texas. We’re very well educated, but still there are those core values. Churches are full on Sundays,” Hancock said. “This is a tool we’d like in the toolbox for responding to discipline issues.”

Note, too, the different descriptions of the practice. The town sees paddling as a tool, whereas the writer of the article describes it as a weapon. Critics are correct that corporal punishment can be abused… but that’s true of anything. The fact is, each generation is born barbaric, without any sense of a community larger than themselves. It takes a combination of loving intent, consistent standards, and the occasional corporal reinforcement of consequences to mold the next generation of civilized society.

We’ve tried ever-larger doses of self-esteem therapy and child-centered parenting. And as society has become less self-controlled, it’s become ever more State-controlled. Which is better: applying a paddle to a young backside to promote correct behavior as a habit, or sending heavily armed police to take down gangs of adolescent miscreants years later?