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The sexes

Watching over the kiddies

No surprise here: hundreds of British child welfare professionals, including police officers, care workers and teachers, have been identified as ‘extremely high-risk’ paedophiles by an investigation into internet porn. If you were a pedophile, wouldn’t a position that gave you access and authority over children—with no one supervising the situation because you are the supervisor—be perfect?

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News flash: marriage good for women

In a crowded field, one of the dumbest feminist theories has been that the institution presided over by Juno is bad for women. Competent social science normally confirms the obvious, and as to marriage it has now done so, to such an extent that even the lefty Australian paper The Age seems to have noticed: Marriage is good for women’s health.

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Contemporary justice

A rather neat tale of unequal justice that turns bad writing to account: And Justice for All.

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Why “gay marriage” isn’t

One keeps seeing such stories: Syphilis spikes among New York gay men. Officials suggest that the situation “ ‘reflects increased sexual risk-taking behavior … possibly due to factors including the availability of effective treatment, prevention burnout, misperceptions of risk and the impact of other health problems such as depression and substance abuse.’” Such things are no doubt present. “Prevention burnout,” for example, means that homosexuals get tired of being goody-goodies, which sounds about right. It seems to me though that what’s behind the factors officially recognized is that homosexuality, despite recent efforts like the decision of the Boston Glob to publish homosexual unions, stubbornly resists normalization. It’s intrinsically anarchic and transgressive.

To be normal, after all, is to be part of a stable pattern of productive human life. Sexual impulses are deeply rooted, powerful and protean. Bringing them into stable relation with normal human functioning has its difficulties, but it’s necessary if a way of life is to be tolerable. Within the bonds of marriage normal sexual relations between a man and a woman become part of an integrated biological, interpersonal, social and legal scheme of things that deprives sex of its radically self-seeking quality and gives it a settled function and significance at the basis of human life in all its aspects. Homosexuality, in contrast, has no biological function, and any interpersonal significance it may have is a matter of personal interpretation. The attempt to stabilize it through recognition of homosexual couplings as marriages is an attempt to bring about the triumph of social artifice over overwhelming impulse with no aid from instinct, biology, the social necessity of stable home life for the rearing of children, or even social attitudes that give social artifice any particular authority. The attempt is bound to flop. Its main effect will be to disorder social understandings of marriage yet further, and it is important to resist it for that reason.

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Not for the children

Another study, if you find yourself among people who demand studies: Children of Post-Abortive Moms Have More Behavioral Problems. Not surprising, unless you accept the liberal view that the body is somehow external to the person, so that a woman’s attitude to the life growing within her is something she can choose at will. Sexuality and our connection to our children is not something we construct but something that constitutes us.

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Study shows experts wrong

Since educated people today are convinced that “studies” are how we know things, it’s worth keeping some references in your back pocket. Here’s something recent from Britain, Experiments in Living: The Fatherless Family. Yes, it’s really true that recent changes in family patterns have been bad for almost everybody involved.

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Crime and marriage

The old ball and chain really does work: University of Florida study: Marriage can reduce life of crime. The effect is said to be “strong” among hardened offenders in their late teens and early 20s, although the article unfortunately doesn’t give figures. And it has to be marriage; shacking up doesn’t do the job. The only other factor that seemed to affect recidivism was heroin usage.

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Smith college today

This woman sounds like a parody, but not by much: Smith presidency offers a bully pulpit . Carol Christ, the college’s new president, thinks that “equity and access are some of the key issues facing American higher education.” She’ll therefore be pushing for colleges to bring more gender balance to their faculties, especially in the sciences. “She hopes to leverage the Smith experience to advocate for expanded hiring of women on science faculties nationwide.” Good for her! The academy, after all, must stand for something, and “diversity” is the only possible principle to stand for today, so she’s just doing what every college president has to do. The only problem I can see is the tedium of it, but someone has to be willing to mouth these things, so if Carol’s willing to do it I think we all owe her a debt of gratitude.

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Strike CEDAW!

The crypt has opened, and CDAW once more stalks the land! As most VFR readers know, the treaty passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the beginning of the summer and may be voted upon by the full Senate at any time. Since we’ve discussed it before we won’t repeat how bad it is. Here’s a petition to the President and the Senate opposing ratification that I urge everyone to sign. Note that they require an organizational affiliation, so you need to belong to an organization that wouldn’t mind being mentioned in connection with the petition. I listed “View from the Right” as my affiliation, and suppose it would be legitimate for any regular participant to do the same.

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Our Mom the state

Did John Knox have a point about the Monstrous Regiment of Women? It seems so, at least when it comes to ladies from small Northern European countries. We’ve spoken about the misdeeds of Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Another enemy of humanity is Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and (somewhat addlepated) director of the World Health Organization, who found time in the ’80s to invent “sustainable development” as an influential movement. Now one of her (female) operatives is telling us that the couch potato lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking. The advice is unexceptionable. What seems more troubling is the program for doing something about it: “Telling people to eat more fruit and vegetables and to take exercise did not work if there were no policies to help people change.” The state as Mom writ large is aided, it appears, by having Mom actually run it.

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Feminist antidiscrimination and its consequences

The issue of working mothers provides an example of the mindlessness and inhumanity of “antidiscrimination” as a basis for human relations: Study: Women with children face blatant workplace bias . When and under what circumstances mothers, especially of young children, should work outside the home is an issue that touches all of us. It may not exactly “take a village” to raise a child, but we all have some sort of concern for how the next generation grows up. There’s a lot that could be said one way or another about how outside-the-home work for mothers should be handled individually, in social attitudes and customs, in organizational practice, and in the law. What antidiscrimination laws do though is make it illegal to think about it. After all, to think involves taking taking a view of things,

and a view that suggests people differ in anything but the unpredictable choices they make is now a pathology that has to be rooted out. You’re treading on dangerous ground even to try to work out an accommodation between the demands of parenthood and employment. In the article’s prize example of the horrors of discrimination, one outrage (out of 5 the article listed that occurred over a 14-month period) was a suggestion that an employee with a child with frequent ear infections find a pediatrician with evening office hours. With something like that in the record it’s no wonder—today—that the woman got over $600,000 in damages and attorney’s fees.

Feminist and PC demands that obvious issues be ignored lead to contempt for truth and those who disagree. Here’s an example: Bush Is Already at War - Against Women. The Bush administration has been resisting inclusion of the phrase “reproductive health services” in UN human rights statements because the phrase is normally used to include abortion (just look at Google) and the Bush administration does not support proclamation of an internationally-enforceable human right to an abortion. The columnist’s response?

Perhaps the phrase “reproductive health services,” to your ears, means Pap smears or pre-natal care or AIDs prevention. To the conservative activists Bush appoints as official representives to international conferences, they mean abortion and, sometimes, birth control.

Hence the title of the article. Abortion is first a figment of the imagination of conservative activists and then a fig leaf for a mindless attack on women as women. Not much discussion is possible when these are the things published in mainstream outlets like Newsday. That may be the point though. After all, the purpose of international human rights comferences is to get basic issues of social organization decided by unrepresentative elites thousands of miles away from those who are to be subject to the decisions. That being so, “there aren’t any issues here and anyone who raises questions is a bad person” is probably the best line to take.

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Not-so-nice Emily

When is Schadenfreude permissible? Emily’s List, a group in Washington that raises money for pro-abortion female Democratic candidates, is targeting Democratic men like Representatives Dingell and Bonior using negative ads and personal accusations. Left-wing bigots don’t always keep their bigotry properly focused, it seems.

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Feminist and antifeminist news

Some antifeminist items have made their way into the mainstream media: Salon says that “False rape accusations are not uncommon”, although they put a feminist spin on it, while Fox News has noticed that Moms Can Be Deadbeats Too. In fact, when they don’t get custody they’re more likely to be deadbeats than dads. Orthodoxy is still orthodoxy, though: even when women commit crimes the the crimes are not really criminal. It seems that in the UK “55 per cent of women jailed for the first time were displaying symptoms of mental illness.” Not surprising, since grossly antisocial activity is no doubt a sign of mental illness, especially in women.

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Feminists speak with forked tongue

This is puzzling: Nicholas Kristof has told us that those who question CEDAW must favor abuse of women in Pakistan because “frankly, the treaty has almost nothing to do with American women … it has everything to do with the half of the globe where to be female is to be persecuted until, often, death.” So shut up, sign it, and don’t obfuscate things by asking about its effect on American law or why it’s so important for the Americans to sign it when the problem is in signatory countries like Pakistan.

Now lawyers and judges at an American Bar Association conference in Washington say CEDAW should be ratified because they could use it to overturn American laws and policies. According to Justice Karla Moskowitz of the New York Supreme Court, president of the National Association of Women Judges, “Even though there has been a recognition of these problems in the courts, these problems still exist. We see a big gap in the laws in the United States, and we think [the treaty] would help close that gap.” The laws Americans have established for themselves aren’t good enough, so Judge Moskowitz needs the UN’s help to change them.

So who’s right, Nicholas or Karla? Also, I thought that at least in public pronouncements judges were supposed to pretend to be impartial servants of the law. Has that standard been superseded?

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Dworkin on lap dancing

Andrea Dworkin helps clarify some issues. The Glasgow council has become the first local authority in the UK to state it would object to all licensing applications for lap-dancing clubs on the grounds that they demean and exploit women. Miss Dworkin responded with an opinion piece, which was published in a Glasgow paper.

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More on feminism and prostitution

Another example of the battle between pro-prostitution and antiprostitution feminists, this one in France. (You can tell it’s French when someone says something like “Prostitution is the paroxysm of a woman’s non-power over herself.”)

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Feminist boardrooms in Norway

Scandinavian social democracy keeps rolling on: Norway sets 40% female quota for boardrooms. Publicly-owned companies have to comply in one year, privately-owned ones in three. The quotas expand the 40% rule for government posts that has existed since the Norwegians got their first female prime minister in 1981, a lady who has since become the crackpot director of the World Health Organization (for more on her, see her views on the the world’s most important health challenges). One interesting fact the article mentions in support of the demand: women now constitute 60% of university students in Norway. A demonstration of equality, I suppose.

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Social science gets it together!

The science of family life continues to make huge strides: Study Looks At Women, Marriage And Divorce and discovers that shacking up and premarital pregnancy make for shaky marriages. How revolutionary! Similar findings may eventually lead scholars to propose sophisticated theoretical concepts like “commitment and integrity” and “moral orientation,” or maybe eventually even “virtue and faith,” to explain otherwise puzzling data.

Such conceptual advances may lead to previously unthought-of questions that when asked advance knowledge yet further. Recent examples include the startling discoveries that traditional households, oppressive though they may be from the standpoint of liberal metaphysics, are radically less prone to violence and abuse than non-traditional ones, and that divorce not only makes kids miserable, it usually makes their parents miserable too. The former discovery would never have been made if someone had not thought of disaggregating married households from other arrangements in studies of domestic violence, nor the latter if someone had not questioned the proposition that letting people go off and do what they feel like doing makes for their greater happiness. And neither move would have been possible without what I suppose in modern academia must count as radical conceptual innovation.

Science lives!

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Love and marriage today …

Here’s a useful survey of family life in the West. They don’t give links or footnotes, but at least they mention where they got the information.

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Family affairs in Germany

The German Christian Democrats get with the program: their 28-year-old pregnant unmarried mom shadow spokeswoman for family affairs is appealing for the votes of homosexuals by promising various gay rights reforms that it seems the Social Democrats and Greens have failed to deliver.

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