Parental love causes
the fundamental paradox of politics: no society can be simultaneously fair,
free and equal. If it is fair, people who work harder will accumulate more.
If it is free, people will give their wealth to their children. But then
it cannot be equal, for some people will inherit wealth they did not earn.
Ever since Plato called attention to these tradeoffs in 'The Republic',
most political ideologies can be defined by the stance they take on which
of these ideals should yield.
The family is a subversive organisation. Every political and religious movement in history has sought to undermine the family. Leninism, Nazism, and other totalitarian ideologies always demand a new loyalty higher than, and contrary to, family ties. So have religions from early Christianity to the Moonies.
- Stephen Pinker, "How The Mind Works"
In one century we went
from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to offering remedial English
- Joseph Sobran, commenting on the state of the US education system, "The Victoria Advocate"
"Every child deserves
to learn, and we can't let the soft bigotry of low expectation destroy
the future for so many of our children. All children, no matter where they
live or where their parents come from, deserve schools where the instruction
is rigorous, the teachers are qualified and those in charge are held accountable
- Susan B. Bonsteel
How can a citizen be
called educated if he has been trained to misunderstand the world?
- Robert Conquest
A society that thinks
the choice between ways of living is just a choice between equally eligible
"lifestyles" turns universities into academic cafeterias offering junk
food for the mind.
- George Will
This is an age in which
one cannot find common sense without a search warrant.
- George Will
The most threatening
thing about Camille Paglia, from the American viewpoint, is that she refuses
to treat the arts as an instrument of civil rights. Without talent, no
entitlement. She has the powers of discrimination to show what talent is
— powers that add up to a talent in themselves. Students expecting a poem
by Maya Angelou will find that this book is less inclusive than the average
lineup for Inauguration Day.
- Clive James, reviewing Camille Paglia's "Break, Blow, Burn"
So far as anything
to do with the actual reality of actual human nature is concerned, we are
as prim and shockable as a bunch of Quaker schoolmarms. After 40 years
of lying to ourselves, we are now terrified of the truth.
- John Derbyshire, reassessing "Lolita" in "National Review"
A measure of hypocrisy
is necessary to a functioning society. It’s quite possible, on the one
hand, to be opposed to the legalization of prostitution yet, on the other,
to pull your hat down over your brow every other Tuesday and sneak off
to the cat house on the other side of town. Your inability to live up to
your own standards does not, in and of itself, nullify them... Without
agreed "moral standards", all you have is the law. When it’s no longer
clear something is wrong, all you can do is make it illegal.
- Mark Steyn, "National Review"
Children learn to choose
wisely by having wise choices made for them. Give them reasons in order
to help them learn — not because parental authority must be justified.
Do not fear to say 'no'. Do not teach them that they are the center of
the universe. And understand that they need adversity and challenge to
thrive just as surely as they need love and support.
- David Frum, "National Review"
The middle class has
always been about education, education, education. Since time immemorial,
observes Lawrence James, while the working class regarded their children
as mere beasts of burden and the aristocracy considered them vehicles for
perpetuating their line, those in between defined themselves by seeking
to better their offspring. For all that is said about middle-class morality
and values, their constant characteristic is a belief that most important
things in life can be bought: children’s education, health, cleanliness
of person and surroundings, smart clothes and a comfortable home. To these
have been added, in modern times, a mania for holidays and exotic foods...
His book is fundamentally a celebration. “The middle classes’ power is
still vast and obvious: they are the organisers and servants of society
who get things done. They provide specialised knowledge, operate the machinery
of the state and direct every form of commercial enterprise. For over 500
years they have provided order, direction and momentum to the life of the
nation”. If there is a message, it is the inevitable one: class continues
to be about education, education, education, and the state’s attempts to
match the schooling that money can buy are still failing miserably. The
middle class beggars itself to teach its children the lesson of self-discipline,
the only path to achievement and prosperity.
- Max Hastings, reviewing "The Middle Class" by Lawrence James, "The Times"
Often in the past 10
years I have found myself wondering what the state imagines the point of
parents to be. We all know the correct answer: parents are there to protect
and provide for their children, encourage their social, moral and intellectual
growth, and to prepare them to be adults who can satisfactorily bring up
their own children. I very much fear, though, that that is not the Government's
view at all. My suspicions were roused, and are regularly compounded, by
Chancellor Gordon Brown's fiscal and economic policies. Marriage, except
when deeply unhappy or abusive, is always the best context in which to
raise children. Mr Brown has, however, neutralised the tax regime as it
relates to marriage.
- Simon Heffer, "The Spectator"
The perverse incentives
within the welfare system for couples with children to live apart must
be removed, as a matter of urgency. How fatuous is Labour’s mantra in response:
namely, that children must be supported, not marriage. The best way of
supporting children is to nurture the very social institution that gives
them the best start in life.
- Spectator editorial (Aug'07)
There is a Boogeyman
and he's out there patrolling in a car all the time.
- W Kenny, on how to convince kids not to accept lifts from strangers, "Evening Herald"
We are crucially failing
to draw a distinction between a moral judgment and a practical one. Practically
speaking, it is not a good thing in itself for a parent to be alone and,
as mentioned, it is not a good thing in itself for a child to have only
one parent around.
- David Quinn, "The Dogma of Non-Judgmentalism", "The Irish Independent"
My attitude to marriage
is changing. My middle-class reluctance to judge others is fading... What
we are really doing, when we say that anything goes, is denigrating commitment.
- Camilla Cavendish, on marriage and commitment, "The Times"
Sex which procreates
another human being without providing the full commitment to provide for
its upbringing... This falls into the category of natural wrong since it
harms and deprives another person — the child.
- Tony Alwright, on his "Tallrite Blog"
Marriage is important
because it is (still) the best guarantee that parents will stick around
to bring up their children. That in turn is the best guarantee that those
children will grow up emotionally healthy and properly socialised (not
in every case, of course, but then nothing is perfect). For that reason
marriage is the bedrock of society, and if it goes pear-shaped everyone
else has to clear up the mess. That is the only reason why the state gets
involved in what would otherwise be a private sexual relationship. Marriage
is at the intersection of the public and private spheres because of the
consequences to society if it fails... the erosion of responsibility for
adultery has blunted disapproval. Yet adultery causes pain and distress
to others; it involves betrayal, dishonesty and infidelity. Not to disapprove
is to shrug aside the infliction of harm (and) means that a society cannot
incentivise good behaviour and discourage bad, a deeply reactionary position
which in turn denies the liberal ideal of improving the human condition.
- Melanie Phillips, "Let's Bring Back Stigma and Shame", "The Spectator"
When it comes to children’s
prospects, the real dividing line between the haves and the have-nots isn’t
money — it’s parents. Children raised by a single parent are more likely
than their peers raised by married parents to drop out of school, abuse
drugs, get drunk, smoke, have sex, get pregnant, commit a crime, attempt
suicide…the list could go on and on.
- Carrie Lukas, "National Review"
We know no spectacle
so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.
Those vices which destroy domestic happiness ought to be as much as possible
repressed. It is equally clear that they cannot be repressed by penal legislation.
It is therefore right and desirable that public opinion should be directed
against them. But it should be directed against them steadily, and temperately,
not by sudden fits and starts. There should be one weight and one measure.
It is good that a certain portion of disgrace should constantly attend
on certain bad actions. But it is not good that the offenders should merely
have to stand the risks of a lottery of infamy, that ninety-nine out of
every hundred should escape, and that the hundredth, perhaps the most innocent
of the hundred, should pay for all.
- Lord Macauley, reviewing Moore's "Life of Byron" in 1830
Marriage isn't simply
public recognition of a private love. It is also, and has always been,
a social institution, meaning something that transcends the private dimension
and has a profoundly social dimension, which makes its healthy function
the business of everyone... The overwhelming reason why marriage evolved,
or was ordained by God if you're of a religious frame of mind, is because
of this social dimension. It is this, and nothing else, that has led to
all kinds of social, financial and legal benefits being attached to it.
Practically none of these benefits would attach to it if it was purely
and simply about the love two people have for one another. In fact, if
that's all it was, the State and society would have practically no interest
in it at all. The interest society has in marriage stems from the fact
that children are almost always produced by a marriage. Children give marriage
enormous social implications. Children give any relationship social implications...
We are on the point of abolishing marriage as a social institution. The
consequence of this is that we have effectively declared we don't really
care if two people have children but don't want to raise them together.
We have said that we don't really care if two people who have children
won't publicly commit to one another for the sake of the children - we'll
give them the benefits of marriage anyway.
- David Quinn, "A Word Without Meaning", "The Irish Independent"
What about gay couples
having or adopting children? Being wary about same-sex adoption is not
the same as suggesting gay couples would "corrupt" children into a gay
lifestyle'. An argument against adoption by gay couples is based on the
rights of children. There is a general view that it is best for children
to have an active father and mother. Of course, in practice, many children
are born to single parents or else find themselves in homes where one parent
has departed or died, or even where both parents are unable or unwilling
to take care of them. But that does not mean children do not have the right
to expect better. If children need to befostered or adopted, their right
to expect a mother and father should be respected in the fostering or adoption
context. Foster/adoptiveparents of both genders should be sought. Only
if we think that there is no difference between men and women, between
fathers and mothers, does it seem right to approve of same-sex couples
having or adopting children on the same basis as heterosexual couples.
To say this is no insult to gay couples. It is not about them. It is about
children... If there are no heterosexual couples willing orable to foster
such children, then it seems cruel to deprive them of a caring home with
a willing and appropriategay couple.
- Colum Kenny, "Mammy and Daddy should be different genders", "The Sunday Independent"
"I truly have no desire
to cause upset or offence by saying this, but the truth of every study
is clear: dual-parent upbringing produces healthier, better educated children.
That’s it. Children of divorced parents are much more likely to do worse
at school, commit crimes, go to prison and more likely to commit suicide."
- Bob Geldof, "Geldof on Marriage"
A woman derives her
sense of self-worth from a good relationship with her father... I am not
saying that any female without a present or visible father is doomed. Human
beings are unexpected and resourceful, and can triumph over the most adversarial
circumstances. Individuals have grown up in the oddest situations and still
thrived... But to have a father - particularly a protective, responsible
and loving father — is one of the greatest advantages that a young person
- Mary Kenny, "The Irish Independent"
Fathers in Britain
today deserve to be treated as heroes. Why? In one generation, they have
thrown off centuries of conditioning to become emotionally and practically
involved with their children. With no role models to copy, today’s British
dads have reinvented what it means to be a father. Most of them change
nappies, push buggies, read bedtime stories, help with homework and cuddle
their children. This is nothing less than a social revolution.
- Mary Ann Sieghart, "The Times"
For a long time government
policy-makers assumed that teenage girls thought just as they did. They
also confidently surmised that the poor silly girls didn't want to get
pregnant, but were simply too ignorant of contraception to prevent it.
A couple of decades of very thorough sex education, combined with consistently
high rates of teenage pregnancy, has put paid to that theory... if the
Government really doesn't want them to get pregnant in the first place,
it could start by admitting that they're not conceiving by accident.
- Jenny McCartney, in Britain's "Sunday Telegraph"
An increase of £13
a week in benefits may push up the rate of single motherhood by 2%, according
to an EU-wide study that suggests a direct link between the welfare system
and the number of lone-parent families. The analysis of figures in 14 European
countries found that Britain has by far the highest proportion of single
mothers in the European Union. The report says that in 2001, more than
8% of British households were headed by a single mother aged 18-35, while
the UK also has one of the highest rates of benefits for single mothers.
- Roger Dobson, "The Times"
"You might as well
say you curb burglary by handing out jemmies."
- Baroness Knight of Collingtree, Tory peer, on plans to hand out contraceptives in schools
We no longer needed
to worry about objectification or misogyny... It was time for us to join
the frat party of pop culture, where men had been enjoying themselves all
along. If Male Chauvinist Pigs were men who regarded women as pieces of
meat, we would outdo them and become Female Chauvinist Pigs: women who
made sex objects of other women, and of ourselves... but why is labouring
to look like Pamela Anderson empowering? How is imitating a stripper or
a porn star — a woman whose job is to imitate sexual arousal in the first
place — going to render us sexually liberated? Raunch culture isn’t about
opening our minds to the possibilities and mysteries of sexuality. It’s
about endlessly reiterating one particular — and particularly commercial
— shorthand for sexiness.
- Ariel Levy, from "Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture"
Only 30 years ago,
Ariel Levy says, our mothers were burning their bras and picketing Playboy.
Now we are getting implants and wearing the bunny logo as supposed symbols
of our liberation. If male chauvinist pigs were men who regarded women
as pieces of meat, she says, today's women have decided to outdo them and
be female chauvinist pigs: women who make sex objects of other women and
- Amelia Hill, reviewing "Female Chauvinist Pigs", "The Observer"
The teen-magazine Bliss
is perhaps not the most irreproachable source to discover what young people
are up to, but it nonetheless provides a fairer indicator about their conduct
than would a Commons Select Committee or the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The magazine's survey of its girl readers reveals that a quarter of them
have had sex with several partners, and that 16 per cent of 13-year-olds
are not virgins. A majority complained about lack of sex-education — as
if there was a single one of them who didn't know about the dangers of
unprotected intercourse. If anything, the behaviour of these youngsters
is proof of how powerless governments are over people's behaviour. They
can issue homilies, lay down guidelines, provide lessons in this and that:
but in a free society, teenagers will go their own way, conforming to the
ethos of the sub-culture to which they belong.
For what has always prevented sexual activity among teenagers was a powerful taboo amongst young females against it. That taboo was the creation of an entire civilisation, over many centuries, and for better or worse, it is now as extinct as witch-burning or pilgrimages on foot to Canterbury. Governments can no more re-invent that taboo by decree than they can redirect the Gulf Stream with eye-catching initiatives. This is not to say that behaviour cannot be changed. It clearly can. The boisterous and bawdy Georgian England became an altogether more stolid, respectable place under Nonconformist influence. For social habits are like language: no one quite knows why they change when they do, and no one can predict what changes will be long-lasting.
- Kevin Myers, "The young won't be told what to do" in "The Telegraph"
Liz Lightfoot's report
in 'The Daily Telegraph' last weekend about the children in Hampshire who
can quote which articles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child
were being violated in the story of Cinderella read like an enjoyable satire,
except it was not: it was a grisly and terrifying insight into the corruption
of childhood by reason, law and rights. Childhood should not be about logic
and rationality, but of acquiring wisdom through experience to prepare
for a horribly imperfect adult world in which reason, law and rights are
often entirely absent. This is the very purpose of children's fairy tales.
They are fables of injustice and random cruelty that tell us far more about
the reality of life than any UN Convention.
The problem being faced by British state-run schools is part of a general, Europe-wide loss of vision about the future, not just for today's generation of children, but for the survival of democratic, tolerant society over the coming decades. That will require toughness, endurance, willpower and competitiveness, qualities that saved our civilisation 60 years ago, but which today are probably regarded as human rights violations in the schools of Hampshire.
- Kevin Myers, "Children need frights, not rights", "The Telegraph"
Irish academic researchers
have stumbled across a terrible fact: kids tease each other. That can be
the only conclusion following the release of a survey which reveals that
"any child who is taller, shorter, fatter, thinner or blacker" is liable
to suffer teasing in the school yard.
While the spectre of schoolyard racism is obviously something that is genuinely worrying, have the researchers never been school kids themselves? Children are, by their very nature, evil, cruel, sociopathic little monsters who should never be trusted, listened to or indulged in any way. Bring back the Victorian attitudes towards children and we would all be a lot happier.
- Ian O'Doherty, "Kids taunt each other? Well, I never", "The Irish Independent"
It is a utopian nonsense
to suppose that children will make the right choices in life without, on
occasion, some form of coercion. The heart of the matter is the problem
of the philosophy embedded not just within the education system, but within
society as a whole. The greatest crime is to infringe a child’s rights,
regardless of whether the rights of other children, or teachers, are infringed
through the failure to impose corrective discipline in the first place.
Right now, teachers are powerless. They are prohibited from almost all
forms of physical restraint against their aggressive and violent charges.
They have been forced to rely upon a lengthy and complex complaints procedure
which often achieves nothing. And we wonder why our kids are more aggressive
and violent these days. They are more aggressive and violent because they
can get away with it.
- Rod Liddle, "Children Can't Be Trusted", "The Spectator"
My daughter is a barbarian,
or at least she was when she was born. And I mean this fairly literally.
Political theorist Hannah Arendt once said that, every generation, Western
civilization is invaded by barbarians — we call them “children.” Today’s
babies aren’t meaningfully different from those born 1,000 or 5,000 years
ago. A Viking baby magically transported to 21st-century America might
grow up to be an accountant or a bus driver. A baby born today and sent
back in time might become a Hun, Visigoth or Aztec warrior, whatever his
parents expected of him.
Families are civilization factories. They take children and install the necessary software, from what to expect from life to how to treat others. One hears a lot of platitudes about how children are “taught to hate.” This is nonsense. Hating comes naturally to humans, and children are perfectly capable of learning to hate on their own. Indeed, everyone hates. The differences between good people and bad resides in what they hate, and why. And although schools and society can teach that, parents imprint it on their kids.
As a conservative, I’m a big believer in the importance of tradition, which writer G.K. Chesterton dubbed “democracy of the dead.” But tradition can only be as strong as it is in the people who pass it on. And so, when I read that 23 percent of British teens think Winston Churchill is no more real than Spider-Man, it makes me shudder at the voluntary amnesia of society, the wholesale abdication of parental responsibility that represents.
Civilization, at any given moment, can be boiled down to what its living members know and believe. This makes civilization an amazingly fragile thing, and it makes parents the primary guardians of its posterity. Indeed, someone once told me that those who cannot learn from history are condemned to hear George Santayana quoted to them for the rest of their lives. Of course, that joke’s only funny if you’ve heard of Santayana in the first place.
- Jonah Goldberg, "Western Civilization and Other Fairy Tales", "National Review"
We have been so anxious
to give our children what we did not have that we have neglected to give
them what we did have.
- The Vent
"Youth had never been
more free, but never complained so much about being oppressed."
- Maurice Droun, on the student revolts of 1968
If you are feeling
a bit long in the tooth, this book should cheer you up. Surveying attitudes
to ageing from classical times to now, it concludes that the early 21st
century is the best of all possible periods in which to grow old. Medical
advances, plus improvements in diet, hygiene and living standards, mean
that we stay healthy and active later in life than ever before. Thanks
to the same entirely undeserved windfalls, we have a higher than ever chance
of not seeing our children die. In the 18th century, only a third of Europeans
had a surviving child when they reached the age of 60, whereas now we regard
the deaths of the young as unnatural.
- John Carey, from his review of "The Long History of Old Age" in "The Times"
"No drug, not even
alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the
sources of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should
test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power"
- PJ O'Rourke
When people have strong
values, they can survive hard economic times. When they have dissolute
values, they can't even survive prosperity.
- Harry Henderson
Beyond a critical point
in a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true
of humans in the finite space of a planetary ecosystem as it is of gas
molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly
survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those
who do survive.
- Frank Herbert, "Dune"
I notice that everyone
in favour of abortion has already been born.
- Ronald Reagan
Enabling a potential
human being to come to life and to enjoy life is a good thing, just as
protecting a living person's life from being ended is a good thing. Of
course a death is not the same as an averted life, in large part because
others feel differently about the two. Yet I find no logic implicit in
the thinking of those who are horrified at the starvation of a comparitively
few people in a farawar country (and apparently more horrified than at
the deaths by political murder in that same faraway country, or at the
deaths by accidents in their own country) but who are positively gleeful
with the thought that a million or ten million times that many lives will
never be lived that might be lived.
- Julian L Simon, "The Ultimate Resource"
"What happens when
the sacrosanct right to kill a fetus at any stage of development for any
reason gets to be politically incorrect? A fascinating piece in Sunday's
New York Times reports on what has been happening in India. Over the last
decade or so, with ultra-sound technology becoming more and more available,
women are aborting increasing numbers of fetuses found to be female. The
resulting imbalance is getting extreme. In Punjab, India's most fertile
agricultural region, there are now only 8 girls born for every 10 boys.
There's a word for this: eugenics. The grimmer fact is that nothing seems
to be able to stop it. A law was passed in 1994 outlawing ultrasound tests
for gender, but it is basically impossible to enforce.
Sexist eugenics is only one possibility, of course. Before too long, we'll find all sorts of reasons to abort fetuses - wrong gender, genetic predispositions to certain diseases, wrong sexual orientation, and on and on. It seems to me that it will be impossible to stop this without the kind of intervention in abortion rights that pro-choicers refuse to countenance. At which point, pro-choicers will have to accept that eugenics are indistinguishable from their crusade or reverse or nuance their position on abortion."
- Andrew Sullivan
to feminist demands does not necessarily increase the sum of female happiness
tomorrow. "A woman's right to chose" in free, democratic India has led
to mothers there aborting perhaps a million she-Indians in a year... The
Chinese, living where they do, between the brutal Gobi desert, the unforgiving
flood plains of the Yangtze, and the abominable Himalayas, have many bitter
curses, but one of the worst of them is, "May you live to see your wishes
come true." Well, girls, you got your demand: almost universal abortion
on demand. Pleased with the outcome?
- Kevin Myers, on India's gender imbalance, "The Irish Independent"
The Left wants to keep
"Roe v Wade" in the courts. Why? Because if Roe were reversed, abortion
would not be halted, but the arguments over it would move back into the
political sphere of states and localities, where the pro-life forces would
win more than half the arguments, for sure. The Left must avoid the democratic
branches of government, lest they be badly embarrassed.
- Michael Novak, "National Review"
In death-penalty cases,
“reasonable doubt” goes to the accused because unless we’re certain, we
must not risk an innocent’s life. This logic goes out the window when it
comes to abortion, unless you are 100-percent sure that babies only become
human beings after the umbilical cord is cut. I don’t see how you can be
that sure, which is why I’m pro-life — not because I’m certain, but because
- Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"
"Mr Speaker, today
Congress will debate two bills. The first bill is partial birth abortions.
The second bill is wildlife and sport fish restoration. Unbelievable. Kill
the babies but save the trout and the tit mouse. Beam me up. In fact, beam
me up, Scotty."
- James Traficant, Congressman in US House of Representatives
To be brutally honest,
most adopted babies were unwanted. When Britain introduced the 1967 Abortion
Act, adoption dropped like a stone. Most babies adopted before 1968 might
well have been aborted. Adoptees have reason to be grateful to be alive,
rather than obsessively focusing on their birth parents.
- Mary Kenny, "The Irish Independent"
"I don't care about
the circumstances of a child's conception. You want to execute somebody
in the case of rape, execute the rapist and let the unborn child live."
- Pat Buchanan
"Who would he look
like? Who would he talk like? Would he have your eyes? Or would she have
your smile, gentle and so kind? Would she tell no lies?
Each day I carry the blame. All the children whose names, forever are lost... We must be guilty of murder. Measure my words. Of babies whose crying will never be heard."
- River City People, "Each Day I Carry The Blame"
"I believe that people
would be alive today if there were a death penalty."
- Nancy Reagan (think about it)
Not long before he
was elected pope (overwhelmingly), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a public
rebuke to the U.S. bishops. He reminded them that the question of abortion
must be judged in a far different category from war and capital punishment.
War is a question of practical wisdom, he observed, about which prudent
Catholics may form opposing practical judgments. Same with capital punishment,
which for centuries was rated by the church as just and sometimes necessary.
By contrast abortion, Ratzinger wrote, is “intrinsically evil” and “always
and everywhere” to be opposed... those who call the Iraq war “unjust”
are entitled to their opinion, but they have no serious Catholic authority.
Neither the pope nor the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith nor
the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, even when some of them opposed it
as imprudent, have ever called the Iraq war unjust... There are many pretty
words that politicians, some Republicans and some Democrats, use to mask
their actual practice in regard to abortion. They call it “a profound moral
issue,” and they say they seek to make abortions “safe, legal, and rare”
— a particularly adroit example of rhetorically pleasing everybody. In
actual practice, though, they manage to keep abortions going just as before.
Senators would never allow themselves such disgraceful compromise if they were speaking about slavery. In the case of slavery, being “pro-choice” is not moral, as Sen. Douglas learned to his sorrow from candidate Lincoln. An irreducible natural right is at stake. Of course, the Republican party was the anti-slavery party. And, alas, the Democrats of recent times have allowed the Republican party to become the anti-abortion party. For the Democrats, that is a disgrace. As a result, many Catholics have reluctantly had to change parties — or at least to change their voting habits. As a violation of natural right, abortion is even more extreme than slavery.
- Michael Novak, "National Review"
to crime in several ways. First, children from single-parent families are
more likely to become involved in criminal activity. Moreover, holding
other variables constant, black children from single-parent households
are twice as likely to commit crimes as black children from a family where
the father is present.
For example, research by Dr. June O'Neill's and Anne Hill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that a 50 percent increase in the monthly value of combined AFDC and food stamp benefits led to a 117 percent increase in the crime rate among young black men.
Likewise, research by Shelley Lundberg and Robert Plotnick of the University of Washington showed that an increase in welfare benefits of $200 per month per family increased the rate of out-of-wedlock births among teenagers by 150 percent.
Of course women do not get pregnant just to get welfare benefits. It is also true that a wide array of other social factors has contributed to the growth in out-of-wedlock births. But, by removing the economic consequences of a out-of-wedlock birth, welfare has removed a major incentive to avoid such pregnancies.
Until teenage girls, particularly those living in relative poverty, can be made to see real consequences from pregnancy, it will be impossible to gain control over the problem of out-of- wedlock births. By disguising those consequences, welfare makes it easier for these girls to make the decisions that will lead to unwed motherhood.
- James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrenstein, "Crime and Human Nature"
We must develop a fair appreciation for the real strengths and limitations of government effort on behalf of children. Government, obviously, cannot fill a child's emotional needs. Nor can it fill his spiritual and moral needs. Government is not a father or mother. Government has never raised a child, and it never will.
- Margaret Thatcher, Conservative Prime Minister.
The Christian belief, that we are all sinners capable of redemption, though not in this world, seems to me vastly more sophisticated in its understanding of the human predicament, than the secularised Manichean view that divides people into victims and perpetrators. I say this as a non-believer.
- Theodore Dalrymple, "The Times"
'Times are hard'? Times been harder than this. Don't use the times as an excuse to surrender.
- Al Sharpton
The man has the gradually sinking feeling that his role as provider, the definitive male activity from the primal days of the hunt through the industrial revolution and on into modern life, has been largely seized from him; he has been cuckolded by the compassionate state.
Authority and dictatorship
are not the same thing, and all of us need authority; we need the authority
of law... the authority of parents, the authority of teachers. And this
doesn't mean blind obedience: it means ... we all need guidance. We are
children in the eyes of God. It's very important in organized society that
we are adults making free choices, but we should have the humility to recognize
that we are in many respects children... We had a great party in the Sixties
and thereafter over the destruction of authority, and now we've got the
hangover... In the Nineties... we know we've got something wrong. We're
pessimistic. The Sixties was very silly in many ways, but it was ... optimistic.
Now we know that we have overthrown authority and we wish we hadn't, but
we don't quite know how to re-establish it.
- Charles Moore, "Third Way"
The family is the cornerstone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest - schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern - will never be enough.
- Lydie Rosier, French police officer, in "An Intimate History of Humanity"
There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life.
- Eric Hoffer, "The Passionate State of Mind"
"People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them."
- Eric Hoffer
First radio, then television, have assaulted and overturned the privacy of the home, the real American privacy, which permitted the development of a higher and more independent life within democratic society. Parents can no longer control the atmosphere of the home and have lost even the will to do so. With great subtlety and energy, television enters not only the room, but also the tastes of old and young alike, appealing to the immediately pleasant and subverting whatever does not conform to it.
- Robert Conquest, "Where Ignorance Isn't Bliss", National Review Online
It was at a particular moment in the history of my own rages that I saw the Western world conditioned by the images of Marx, Darwin and Freud; and Marx, Darwin and Freud are the three most crashing bores of the Western world. The simplistic popularization of their ideas has thrust our world into a mental straitjacket from which we can only escape by the most anarchic violence.
- William Golding
If we have a crime problem, it's because crime does pay.
is a last resort in the preservation of order... My friend and colleague
Frank Johnson, who died just before Christmas, was a working-class boy
in the East End of London in the 1950s. His account of capital punishment
as he and his school-fellows saw it interested me. Frank said that hanging
was almost universally considered right. It was because it proved that
society could organise itself, with terrible effectiveness, against extremes
of evil. Poorer people, said Frank, were much more sensitive to this than
the rich and well-educated, because their own lives were lived much closer
to those extremes, or at least had less protection from them. A life of
crime was a semi-rational career-choice for a cockney lad in the way it
was not for a Wykehamist. Hanging reminded him not to make it.
- Charles Moore, "The Spectator"
Q: If you believe in
capital punishment, why do you, and if you do not, why not?
A: I believe if you have capital punishment in a state, that you should exercise it. What I don't like are states that have capital punishment but never exercise the punishment; what happens next is the surviving victims (the families) are punished every year when the subject comes up for parole. The families must travel at their own expense to ensure that the subject isn't paroled or the sentence is lessened. I'm perfectly satisfied if life imprisonment means life, but often it means serving 10-15 years.
- John Douglas, former FBI profiler
Q: What are your thoughts
on "rehabilitation" for the types of criminals you have dealt with?
A: I believe that you cannot rehabilitate criminals, because they were never "habilitated" to begin with. I'm talking primarily of predatory criminals, i.e. rapists, serial murderers, child molesters.
- John Douglas, former FBI profiler
Civilisation is not
something we can take for granted. It needs to be worked at. It needs teachers,
whether they be parents or school teachers or clergy to do the hard work
of moulding us into something semi-civilised. Murder is what happens when
restraints are removed from a violent person, or when that person is never
taught restraint in the first place. The vast majority of us will never
go that far because we're not naturally that violent. But don't be surprised
when those who are then act on their violent impulses because they're not
taught anything different. A culture of no restraint will inevitably produce
violence, plus numerous other social pathologies such as drug and alcohol
- David Quinn, "The Irish Independent"
turns the state into a murderer. But imprisonment turns the state
into a gay dungeon-master."
- Emo Philips
Imagine if a friend,
or even a son or brother, told you, "Hey, guess what I did last night?
I stole a car and then I stole a cop car, I shot at some cops (presumably
family men), and resisted arrest every step of the way." My response would
be: A) "I hope they beat your ass"; B) "Gee, did they beat your ass?";
C) "How come they didn't beat your ass?"; or D) "Come with me right now
so I can take you down to the station so they can beat your ass." There
is no E) none of the above.
- Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"
I have been living
in a golden age that will soon end. Born between VE Day and VJ Day, I missed
all the greatest horrors of the 20th century. If granted a normal lifespan,
I shall miss the horrors of the 21st, too. If my parents' generation was
the greatest, mine has been the luckiest. It is not just space exploration
I am thankful for, but I see that bold adventure as symbolic of the age
now slipping away. It was a manifestation of our civilization's confidence.
Look at what we can do! See where our ever-questing curiosity can take
us! — supported and funded, of course, by a proud and efficient public
culture, in which enterprise and goverment deliver results. Well, that
confidence is now all shot to hell. Government is hopelessly broken. Though
far larger now than in 1957, it does less, and it does that less very badly.
If I compare my own life to the lives of my parents, and to the prospects
for my children, I am struck by my immense good fortune in having been
born when and where I was. I have got through pretty much my entire life
without ever having to work very hard, without ever having seen my country
invaded, without enduring war or depression, without suffering any horrid
illness, without ever going hungry or wanting for anything. What luck!
- John Derbyshire, "National Review"
"Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday...The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production."
- Nik Cohn commentates on the 'Saturday Night Fever' of the recession hit 1970s.
There are only two ways by which to rise in this world, either by one's own industry or by the stupidity of others.
- Esperanza, "Salt Of The Earth", 1953.
"We had a safety net for a long time from Denmark, but what happens with safety nets? People start using them as pillows. All we are interested in is taking responsibility for our own islands and our own society."
- Hogni Hoydal, Deputy Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands
Watch the costs and the profits will take care of themselves.
- Freeman, "The Irish Indepdendent"
"We are living in a sick society filled with people who would not directly steal from their neighbor but who are willing to demand that the government do it for them."
- David Horowitz, "Issues That Dare Not Speak Their Name"
It is futile to judge the viability of a new movement by the truth of its doctrine and the feasibility of its promises. What has to be judged is its corporate organization for quick and total absorption of the frustrated.
- Tim Hames, "The Times of London"
If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.
It is a terrible misunderstanding
of meritocracy to assume it means everyone is somehow (or could be) of
equal merit, with equal success. Innate ability varies, obviously enough.
Merit varies. All cannot have prizes, though all can do well in some way.
No one believes these days that anyone should be held back by some long-discredited
idea of knowing your place or getting above your station. We do live in
a meritocracy, imperfect though it is, and few people would wish to change
that. However, the painful truth is that meritocracy is cruel. It offers
no excuses to those who don’t do well. It is even more cruel when teachers
and politicians offer false encouragement based on a confusion of meritocracy
with socialism. Socialism is incompatible with meritocracy.
- Minette Marrin, "The Lies They Tell Children", "The Times"
The dangers of a society
where intelligence and effort are rewarded more than accidents of birth
were first noted by the British sociologist Michael Young. In his 1958
satire "The Rise of the Meritocracy", Young pointed out that in a society
where your status was defined by your merit — ‘intelligence + effort’ —
the elite will tend to feel wholly entitled to the privileges they enjoy.
This contrasts with the old class-based system which, for all the gibbering
snobbery, tacitly acknowledged that your station in life was pretty much
a matter of luck, and hence one should not brag too much about one’s success
or sneer at the lower classes. The opposite attitude can now be seen in
the United States, which is a self-avowed meritocracy (although in fact
America is not nearly as meritocratic as it likes to think). There, people
talk freely about ‘losers’ and ‘folk who take the bus’. Failures are failures
because it’s their fault. But, of course, when it comes to intelligence
— it isn’t. The stupid, like the poor, have always been with us and it
is perhaps the greatest political challenge to decide what to do with them.
One traditional solution to the IQ problem is to deny that it exists — to deny that there is any innate, genetically determined difference in human intelligence at all. This sort of thinking led to the disaster of the social-science model, which took hold among the educational establishments in the West in the 1960s. With its insistence that all children had equal innate intelligence, the bright were left unfulfilled in schools that pandered to an average that often was not there, and the dim were left floundering as they were forced to compete on the same academic ground as the able, instead of being found a path in life which suited them. Now scientists accept that intelligence has a large genetic component — obviously and facetiously this must be so, otherwise humans would be no brighter than halibuts.
Rather than society pretending that they don’t exist, the unintelligent should be given a chance to do what they can do and not waste their time being forced to attempt what they can’t.
- Michael Hanlon, "The Spectator"
American society is
increasingly a conspiracy of the smart against the dumb. Who, exactly,
do you think
benefits from having a 70,000-page tax code? The low-IQ guy trying to run a small business? Or the accountant he has to pay to interpret the code for him? ...This system is called "meritocracy."
Ninety-nine per cent of the stuff exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art is esthetically worthless and will be utterly forgotten 100 years from now. Some similar proportion of the items published in poetry magazines are likewise without any redeeming value and will likewise be forgotten. The last decent opera anybody wrote was Turandot (1926). The last decent symphony was Vaughan Williams Ninth (1958).
- John Derbyshire, National Rewiew.
This divergence between
value to victim and value to thief suggests another way of looking at the
inefficiency of theft. If you have something that is worth more to me than
to you, I have no need to steal it; I can buy it from you. Goods that a
thief is willing to steal but would not be willing to buy must be worth
more to their present owner than to the potential thief. So the additional
transfers that become possible as a result of theft are inefficient ones
-- transfers of a good to someone who values it less than its present owner.
There are exceptions -- "efficient crimes." You are lost in the woods and starving. You come upon an empty, locked cabin. You break in, feed yourself, and use the telephone to summon help. The value to you of using the cabin was greater than the cost you imposed on its owner; you will be glad to replace both his food and his lock. Your "crime" transferred a resource -- temporary control of the cabin--to someone to whom it was worth more than its value to the initial owner. You could only do it by a crime, not by purchase, because the owner was not there to sell it to you.
- David Friedman, "Hidden Order - The Economics of Everyday Life"
"In our political life,
there have always been certain types of cultural issues, questions of faith
and morals, tone and style, freedom and coercion, which become fighting
issues. To choose but one example, prohibition was an issue of this kind
during the twenties and early thirties. In the struggle over prohibition,
economic interests played only the most marginal role; the issue mobilized
religious and moral convictions, ethnic habits and hostilities, attitudes
toward health and sexuality, and other personal preoccupations. There are
always such issues at work in any body politic, but perhaps they are particularly
acute and important in the United States because of our ethnic and religious
heterogeneity... they loom larger during periods of prosperity, when economic
conflicts are somewhat muted, than they do during periods of depression
and economic discontent. Hard times mobilize economic group antagonisms;
prosperity liberates the public for the expression of its more luxurious
- Richard Hofstadter, on 'cultural politics', 1962.
I know I am completely
out of step with the spirit of our age, but this is my conviction: I believe
in discrimination. I believe that there are many cases in which society,
and even the law, should discriminate betwween people and categories. First,
the original dictionary definition of 'discriminate' is not 'to be prejudiced
against' but to show fine judgment. An expert oenologist 'discriminates'
between a good wine and a bad wine. A person of refined cultural tastes
is 'discriminating' between the valuable and the trashy. A discriminating
opinion is one in which the wheat has been separated from the chaff, or
the meritworthy from the meretricious...
Following guidelines of common sense, a certain level of discrimination between men and women is natural and right. After all, every single sport — with the sole exception of those involving a horse — practices such discrimination. You do not have mixed singles in tennis tournaments, any more than you have mixed football teams... Yet I also believe that there are some roles that should discriminate in favour of women...
In a recent and rather silly report, the Irish Ombudsman ruled that cohabiting couples were unfairly discrminated against, in comparison to married couples. But cohabiting couples should be discriminated against: or, to put it another way, married couples should be favoured. Every relevant study carried out has shown that children do better when their parents are married. No sociological research has ever come up with the evidence that cohabitation is equal to marriage in terms of the stability of family life...
Discrimination is something we do every hour of the day and every time we exercide choice. When you make a purchase, launch an endeavour, throw a party, choose a school for your child, plan a holiday, buy a book, your brain is constantly discriminating in favour or against certain options and actions... It is admirable. It is also a necessarey process of discrimination... To choose is to discriminate, and choice means the exercise of judgement.
- Mary Kenny, "The Irish Independent"
63% of youth suicides
are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes (Source: Rainbows for all God`s Children.)
70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)
- Seen on FBI profiler John Douglas's website
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