Calling all social conservatives...
0 comment Tuesday, September 23, 2014 |
Where are all the social conservatives?
Not here in this discussion.
The discussion is about this story, regarding the young girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts, who apparently made a pact to become pregnant.
It makes me ask: what is going on in Gloucester?
According to, Gloucester is 96.2% White Non-Hispanic, 1.5% Hispanic, 0.6% black.
Allowing for the usual case that these statistics are several years out of date, and also that they represent an undercount of illegal immigrants and others, it seems likely that most of the girls involved are White, of unknown ethnicity.
Here there is a City-Data forum discussion of the story.
So what is going on here? It's not really a surprising story given the trends, going back some years, among Whites in which the illegitimacy rate has been climbing, although not nearly as high as that of blacks or Hispanics.
The fact that the degraded pop culture makes slutty behavior acceptable if not outright glamorous and 'cool' certainly contributes to this kind of thing.
But in the discussion at ParaPundit about the pregnancy pact, it seems that there is little social conservatism on display, except from Randall Parker himself. Granted, many of the regular commenters there are not conservatives; some are liberal or libertarian. But why are there so few socially conservative comments in many such discussions? Are social conservatives a dying breed? It certainly seems that way if you read around the Internet at the 'conservative' or Republican watering holes.
The comments about how girls in past eras married at very young ages are reminiscent of some of the comments made in this discussion on Brave New World Watch a while back. The subject was the FLDS (another subject on which I seemed to be at odds with most conservatives), and the consensus seemed to be that very young marriages could not be opposed on any kind of principle, seeing as how our grandmothers or great-grandmothers married at young ages in many cases. My argument was that the vast majority of young girls (and young men) these days are not ready or willing to truly raise any children they conceive, unlike the older generations, who were mature in a social and emotional sense at much younger ages. However, my argument was dismissed out of hand, as you see.
My grandmothers, both of them, married at young ages. In the case of my paternal grandmother, she was all of 16 years old -- but she lived in very different times, in a different world, you might truly say. In her day, most girls of her age finished school at the end of 8th grade. A relative few academically able young people went to high school, on their way, perhaps, to college. The majority did not. Many rural young girls who left school at 13 or so remained at home until marriage, helping with farm and household chores. In urban areas, some young girls went to work. All these girls who did not go to high school and college were gaining real-life experience and had responsibilities, often involving caring for younger siblings or relatives. Very few young people in that era were granted unlimited freedom and large allowances to play, to take in 'entertainment' or to lollygag with their friends unsupervised. They tended to marry young, without having had a lot of 'experience' in terms of relationships. People often married their first sweethearts, or people they had known since childhood.
By contrast, too many of today's teens have a surfeit of free time, with no adult supervision or interaction, a shocking amount of money provided by their parents, and access to a lot of lurid popular entertainment (rap and hip-hop music, violent and explicit movies and TV shows). The combination is a very unhealthy mix.
Hence, a gaggle of teenage girls making a pact to become pregnant.
Those who argue that these girls are simply responding to their biological urge for motherhood -- which is, by definition, good -- don't address what will happen once the girls actually give birth. In an ideal society, we would probably have a lot more early parenthood -- but in the context of a sound marriage. How likely is that for these girls? Nobody seems to know, or be willing to say, who fathered the children the girls conceived. One of the fathers is said to be a 24-year-old 'homeless' man. Are these candidates for happy families? Are they equipped to raise the children to be decent people?
Girls are biologically capable of motherhood, in many cases, while they are in elementary school. So the argument that they should become mothers because they are physically prepared for it would logically mean that we should have 11-year-olds becoming mothers. Why not, if biological readiness is all that matters?
If we are going to argue for motherhood as early as girls can manage it, we have to acknowledge the studies showing that the younger the mother, the more the risks.
I just don't see where this argument, that early motherhood is desirable because it's biologically possible, comes from, especially where 'conservatives' are concerned.
Women are also biologically capable of bearing children up until menopause. Back in the pre-Pill days, women often had babies in their late 40s and occasionally, in a rare instance, over 50. Is that also desirable because it's physically possible? Most of us would say not.
I can't help asking whether there is not a movement to lower the age of consent that is masquerading as a simple wish to go back to the 'old days' when 13-year-olds could marry.
Our present-day society is much more complicated than the one our grandparents and great-grandparents lived in. We can't wish away all the complications and say that immature, narcissistic, dysfunctional teens should just start having kids because they are anatomically capable of breeding.
So what would the conservative ideal be for these girls? Statistically speaking, they are unlikely to give their children up for adoption by married couples, as would have been done in many cases before the Sexual Revolution. Statistically, it would seem most likely for them to give birth, though remaining unmarried, and to go on as before with their lives: attending school, putting their babies in the school nursery or daycare with all their friends' babies, and just participating in all the usual teen social activities: dating, partying, or whatever. Chances are, the babies' grandmothers may be the de facto mothers of the babies. In the old days, when a girl ''got in trouble'' and the father had absented himself or was otherwise unavailable or unsuitable, occasionally the mother of the girl raised the child as one of her own, and the real parentage was not discussed. But that will not happen here; the girls will ''keep'' the babies while not assuming full responsibility. A bad situation all the way around, ensuring that, at least in some cases, the babies will be dumped in day care while the mother works when she is an 'adult', and most likely there will be multiple 'daddies' or 'uncles' in and out of the household as the mother pursues her dating life despite motherhood.
A recipe for future problems, for the child and society.
Ideally, the mothers-to-be would marry the fathers, who would be responsible young men, and all would live happily ever after. But in a world in which young people are devoted all too often to hedonism and self-seeking lifestyles, and few are ready for adult responsibilities until well into their twenties, or even older, there is little likelihood of that. Odds are that a sizable percentage of the babies will be supported, to some extent, by public funds.
So how do we prevent these things? I am afraid that our society has become so decadent that it's all but impossible to shield your children from the corrupting influences that are out there. I've certainly known many young people from conservative Christian homes, in wholesome communities, who run away, engage in promiscuous behavior, have children without benefit of wedlock, or become drug-addicted.
Many well-meaning parents are too busy to keep tabs on what their children are doing, and have rather shallow relationships with their children. Sometimes this is not their fault, as the demands of earning a living, long commutes to work, and managing personal concerns conflict with parenting. Still, in many cases, some of these factors are under the control of the parents, and they are simply too self-absorbed to put their children and family life first. We do have more control over these thing than many admit.
Still even with the best intentions and the best efforts at good parenting, things go wrong. The pull of the tawdry popular culture is just too strong, and it's too ubiquitous. Unless we live like the Amish, there's no chance of completely avoiding the temptations. I hear that even the Amish sometimes lose children to the 'world.'
In the meantime, though, social conservatives (if there are any still left) should be doing all they can to resist the pull of the depraved culture around us. We are supposed to be preserving, or if that is no longer possible, trying to restore the best of our traditional culture, based on the Christian values of our culture.
Giving in to popular trends, going with the flow, or rationalizing bad behavior from a libertarian standpoint should not be the approach we take.

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