Wednesday, January 01, 2014
Are Conservative Women Happier than Liberal Women?
Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, has found women’s secret to happiness: be conservative.
Political junkies might be interested to learn that conservative women are particularly blissful: about 40 percent say they are very happy. That makes them slightly happier than conservative men and significantly happier than liberal women. The unhappiest of all are liberal men; only about a fifth consider themselves very happy.
Brooks’ findings come from the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, a survey of Americans conducted since 1972, which the author says has produced consistent and reliable findings for decades.
In the New York Post, Ramesh Ponnuru writes about another interesting discovery relating to the “happiness” spectrum:
“Women who say they have turned down a promotion or made some other work sacrifice for the sake of their families report high happiness levels.”
I guess that debunks feminists’ insistence that women should put their careers first. Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote a book called Lean In, encouraging women to reach for more leadership roles at the office. This is something to be admired, of course, but not to the extent that it engenders maternal neglect.
One writer at the New York Times loved Sandberg's book, explaining how it encouraged women not to “hold themselves back” in their careers. So, apparently choosing to be a more visible mother instead of overseeing more employees is “holding one’s self back?”
Yes, children can often produce just as many headaches as a day at the office, but the difference is the former can be cured with a hug. Instead of focusing on children as burdens, we should focus on the joy they bring to growing families. The bond between a woman and her child is stronger than any bond she can have with her office cubicle.
This is just one of the differences conservative women seem to understand.
The Washington Post is casting doubt on Brooks' theory, but to some, the writer's research may not be all that surprising – especially considering some liberals nowadays always seem to be angry about something and offended by everything. Whether it’s Chris Matthews yelling at the TV screen every night or left-wing feminists aggressively arguing we "don't need anymore male leaders" and that Republican leadership will somehow roll back women's rights, conservatives are looking friendlier than ever.
British minister's call to ban spanking angers family groups: Campaigners say there are times when parents need to strike their child
A call by the Children’s Commissioner for England for a total ban on smacking children has angered family campaigners.
Maggie Atkinson said smacking children should be made illegal because it was akin to ‘physical abuse’, and the current law gave pets and adults more rights to protection from violence than youngsters.
She sparked controversy by calling for a total ban which would see parents facing criminal action for corporal punishment.
However, family campaigners claimed there were times when parents needed to smack young children because they were blatantly ignoring other punishments or warnings.
Under current laws, it is illegal for a parent to smack a child if it leaves a bruise, but a lighter smack or ‘reasonable chastisement’ are allowed.
Dr Atkinson said: ‘Personally, having been a teacher, and never having had an issue where I’d need to use physical punishment, I believe we should move to ban it.
‘In law you are forbidden from striking another adult, and from physically chastising your pets, but somehow there is a loophole around the fact that you can physically chastise your child.’
Dr Atkinson, who has two adult step-children, said that despite her strong feelings about the issue, her office was not planning to fight for a ban next year.
Phillip Noyes, of the NSPCC, said: ‘It’s right that we continue to push to get children equal protection in law.
'It would not be intended to criminalise good parents but to put into law what more and more parents are already moving towards – finding better ways than smacking to discipline their children.’
But Margaret Morrissey, of family group Parents Outloud, branded Dr Atkinson’s comments as ‘extremely irresponsible’.
She said: ‘Of course nobody should thrash or beat or abuse a child but there are times when you have to show a child that the parameters have been passed.
‘Children have to realise there’s a limit beyond which you can go.’
A Government spokesman said: ‘Our policy on smacking is clear. We do not condone violence towards children. However, we do not wish to criminalise parents for issuing a mild smack.’
How Outlawing "Rape Porn" Misses the Point
UK Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced sentences of up to three years in prison for anyone possessing porn depicting simulated rape. This is all part of an all-out British assault on internet pornography, which includes forcing all new customers of Britain’s two major internet service to choose whether they want all pornographic sites blocked.
In addition, Cameron’s government recently began stringent enforcement of the U.K.’s Communications Act, leading to the shutdown of JessicaPressley.com until the site owners do more to keep photos and videos out of children’s reach. Already, some in the US are pushing for similar speech restrictions. A petition onwhitehouse.gov would require Internet subscribers to opt in to be able to view porn.
The laws are aimed at preventing violence against women and protecting children from running across pornography. While many people reasonably find depictions of rape disgusting, unfortunately porn bans only work to allow governments to continue to ignore the real sources of violence against women while restricting citizens’ right to free speech.
Before censoring rape porn, it might be wise to first establish that it poses any threat to women’s safety. Looking at the data reveals that defenders of the ban will have a hard time doing so. As Alexander Abad-Santos points out in the Atlantic Wire, “The connection between actual real-life violence and porn is blurry at best — India, which bans all forms of porn, has been in the news thanks to a rash of brutal rapes. Meanwhile, in the United States the incidence of rape declined 85 percent over a period of 25 years while access to pornography has increased.” Reason has also reported that where porn becomes more accessible, rates of violence against women fall.
Perhaps we can make a connection between people with rape fantasies and those who go on to commit rapes. Surely there’s a clear connection. Again, the data does not make a good case for would-be censors. Four in 10 women admitted having rape fantasies in nine surveys conducted from 1973 through 2008. It’s doubtful that a significant percentage of them are rapists.
As the United States contemplates restrictions on internet porn, this may be a good time to evaluate other tactics for protecting American women from sexual assault. First, it’s interesting to note that the sentence for owning rape porn in the UK is exactly the same as the average sentence for actual sexual assault in the United States.
Here’s a partial list of crimes which will get you more prison time in the US than violently raping another human being: stealing mail, selling the wrong kind of orchid, driving through New York with a shotgun shell casing, money laundering and owning illegal substances.
And that’s if rapists are charged. Public universities across the United States have policies in place encouraging rape victims not to contact police but instead rely on peer tribunals which often humiliate victims while giving perpetrators slaps on the wrist in order to protect schools’ reputations. Unfortunately, this isn’t just a problem at the college level, as the Steubenville, Ohio and Maryville, Missouri cases demonstrate. That stories of high school girls’ rapes and coverups by authorities required, respectively, one diligent blogger who was then joined by Anonymous in one case and the victim’s house being burned down in the other to make national news indicates that these are not isolated incidents.
In a small discussion group on the campus of American University, I heard a chilling story of a police officer showing up along with an ambulance to take a rape victim to be treated and to gather evidence against her assailant. The officer repeatedly yelled at the victim, saying, “What did you do wrong?” He then, presumably interested in avoiding another case to investigate, told the paramedic in front of the crying victim and her friend not to take her to the hospital because he didn’t believe she’d been raped. Firing officers who actively inhibit victims’ ability to pursue justice will do far more to decrease instances of rape than a porn ban.
Another way to combat rape that doesn’t require censoring depictions of a common fantasy is to end the massive backlog of untested rape kits expiring by the thousands in police departments across the country.
Spiked Online interviewed former American Civil Liberties Union president Nadine Strossen. She stressed how porn-related speech restrictions “let violent men off the hook and treat women as wimps who need to be protected from certain words and imagery.”
As a feminist, I vehemently disagree with the idea that women are sex objects, that women should be raped, that women should be discriminated against or treated unfavourably in any way. And yet, to paraphrase Voltaire, I would defend to the death your right to say any of those things, and to say them explicitly, and to say them using sexual language.
Whether we find it disgusting, titillating, or a bit of both, banning rape porn threatens women’s (and men’s) right to speech far more than allowing it threatens their safety. Doomed-to-fail efforts to suppress porn may be more politically popular than increasing sentences for actual rapists. And holding schools and law enforcement accountable for collecting evidence, actually testing rape kits, arresting offenders is no easy task. But we can’t let speech-squelching laws allow politicians to pretend do something about sexual violence while real, important reforms languish.
The “Mommy Wars” Are Over
Women used to be faced with a dilemma: forgo a career to stay at home and raise children, or sacrifice the upbringing of your children in order to pursue a career. Since the 1960’s, feminists and conservatives have sparred over this choice. Feminists criticized mothers who stayed at home, claiming women could instead “have it all;” pursue a career while putting their kids in daycare. Conservatives criticized women who put their career first, correctly observing that a parent in the home raising the children is better for the children. This debate was known as the “mommy wars.”
The war is now essentially over and the feminists have won, although not because they were more persuasive. Only 12 percent of moms believe that working full time is an ideal situation for children, and 74 percent of adults say that mothers working outside the home makes it harder to raise children. About half of adults surveyed believe that children are better off if the mother does not work.
Yet today, only three in ten mothers do not work outside the home. The reason the feminists have won is because it is now difficult for men - as well as women - to make enough money from one job to support the entire family. As economic conditions continue to spiral down under Obama, employers have been forced to cut jobs, hours and benefits. Jobs that used to pay decently have been replaced by free student labor, or “internships.” Most parents are lucky to find full-time jobs that pay slightly better than minimum wage. There are fewer people working now than anytime within the past 35 years; only 63 percent of working-age Americans are in the workforce. At the same time, the cost of healthcare, gas, food and other necessities continues to increase.
The median annual household income across the U.S. in 2011 was $50,054. It is extremely difficult for a family of four or more to survive on that level of income. Many parents have student loans, credit card debt from a temporary loss of employment, or huge medical expenses from procedures not covered by insurance. Times have greatly changed since the Ward and June Cleaver era of the 1950’s; workers can no longer count on stable employment, and student loan costs have soared.
Attempting to be a stay-at-home mom on a husband’s meager salary is difficult. Low-income stay-at-home moms, where the annual household income is less than $36,000, report higher levels of unhappiness. Over half report they are struggling, and four percent say they are suffering. Only 46 percent say they are thriving.
Men no longer have more college education than women, making it less likely men will have a high income. Women now make up approximately half of the U.S. labor force. In 1970, they only accounted for 38 percent.
Compounding the problem is the increase in single parents. The number of households led by single mothers has more than tripled since 1960, to 25 percent of households. It is more expensive to support two households than one, not to mention all the additional ongoing legal costs from child support and custody battles. When parents divorce, even if one parent was making a decent income, everything becomes more expensive. In this area the feminists have won some ground; they have successfully removed the stigma of being a single parent, making it easier for parents to walk away from their marriages rather than try and work things out for the good of the children.
What does this mean for families and children? Children are spending more time in daycare and less time with their parents. Over 60 percent of children under age five are in some type of regular child care arrangement. According to research from the Heritage Foundation,
Numerous academic studies suggest that more hours spent in daycare in a child’s earliest years is associated with lower social competence and negative behavioral outcomes, and that these persist through childhood and adolescence. Greater amounts of time spent in non-maternal care and younger age of entry into daycare were associated with a greater likelihood of socio-emotional problems and lower cognitive skills. The cumulative effect of extensive daycare was associated with lower academic achievement and poorer emotional health. As one comprehensive study that tracked 1,300 children from infancy through age 15 found, the quality of daycare was significantly less important regarding social and emotional outcomes than the number of hours spent in daycare. The negative effects of day care were more persistent for children who spent long hours in center-care settings.
Additionally, children are learning values from someone who likely does not share the values of the parents, which is especially troubling for conservative parents. The feminists have pushed hard for this in the name of women’s rights and this is the result.
When the left finds itself losing on a particular issue, it finds a sneaky way instead to ram its agenda through. Having failed to convince women it is better to put their kids in daycare and work full time, Obama and the left are forcing them to do so by continuing the dismal economic conditions. This is just one of many issues Obama is forcing through by artificially extending the recession. The same can be said about Obamacare. Making healthcare unaffordable is opening the door for single-payer (socialist) healthcare.
The left’s ultimate goal of putting both parents in the workforce and their children in daycare has nothing to do with their pretense of “choice” for women. It has everything to do with gaining control over our children at a young age and indoctrinating them in the left’s values. Daycare regulations are increasing and soon parents will have very little control over what happens at them. The only way to stop this is to put conservatives back in power in order to revive the economy with adequate jobs. Times have changed, especially with more women going to college than men, and so the real choice should be whether the mother or father stays at home with the children.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.