Thursday, March 13, 2014

War on Women

John Stossel

You've probably heard that Democratic Party leaders decided that a way to win votes this November is to shout loudly that Republicans wage "war on women." Politico calls this a "proven, persuasive argument."

Give me a break. The idea of a conservative "war on women" is as silly as propaganda I was taught in college: Aside from sex organs, genders are exactly equal, said my leftist professors, and any admission of differences between men and women is oppressive.

I was taught that the only reason boys and girls behave differently is because we're raised differently. If society and parents were to treat genders the same, behavior differences would vanish. I believed it.

Then I had kids, and spent more time with kids, and learned what a fool I'd been.

Back in my ABC News days, I did a TV show about the differences. A typical mom said, "We gave them each trucks. She just wouldn't play with trucks. We wouldn't let him play with guns, so he pretended carrots were guns."

There were exceptions, of course. But it turns out that there's plenty of science documenting that men and women are just programmed differently.

Yet when I reported on that, feminist icon Gloria Steinem told me that gender differences shouldn't even be studied . She sneered, it's "anti-American, crazy thinking to do this kind of research."

At the time, fire departments had dropped strength tests to avoid being accused of sex discrimination. When I told Steinem that one of my interviewees complained that instead of being carried during a fire, now she would be dragged downstairs, with her head hitting each stair, Steinem retorted, "It's better to drag them out ... there's less smoke down there."

Such mindless egalitarianism appeals to politicians, so governments push more of it. President Barack Obama and his supporters brag that Obamacare forces health insurance companies to sell men and women health insurance for the exact same price. On my TV show this week, Democratic activist Jehmu Greene asks indignantly, "Do you want to live in a country where you charge women more than men?"

Well, yes, I do. Insurance should account for costs. Women go to doctors much more often. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, even if you exclude pregnancy visits, women are 33 percent more likely to visit a doctor. Insurance companies used to reflect that in prices. That isn't bigotry -- it's just math.

Insurance companies still charge men more for car and life insurance. A survey of car insurance companies found that the cheapest policy for a woman cost 39 percent less than for a man. A 60-year-old woman pays 20 percent less than a man for a 10-year life insurance policy. Seventy-year-old women pay half as much as men.

That's just math, too, because most women live longer than men and, despite the "woman-driver" stereotype, we men get into more car accidents.

I don't hear activists complaining about men paying too much. The "victim" propaganda works only when women pay more.

The sexes are simply different. Yet government demands that colleges have gender-equal sports participation. It's fine if dance and art groups are mostly women, but if athletic teams are too male, lawsuits follow.

Obama even cynically repeats the misleading claim that women make 77 cents for every dollar men make, although his own Department of Labor says the difference evaporates once you control for experience and other choices.

Government once even claimed that Hooters discriminates against men because it hires big-breasted female waiters. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission only dropped its complaint after Hooters ran a commercial showing a hairy male server wearing Hooters' skimpy uniform. Good for Hooters for mocking the bureaucrats; most companies just cringe and pay.

Liberal social engineers may dream of a society where genders are exactly equal, but that's nonsense. Men and women are different. We should celebrate that difference instead of claiming that women are victims.


One in 20 prisoners in Britain are gipsies or travellers: More than 4,000 are behind bars say jail inspectors

At least one in every 20 prisoners is from the gipsy, Romany or traveller communities, a report reveals.  With 4,276 prisoners in England and Wales being from these groups, they total 5 per cent of the jail population.

It means there are as many gipsies, Romany and travellers in our jails as there are women.

The figures are higher among youth offenders. Around 12 per cent of all inmates aged 12 to 18 in prisons known as Secure Training Centres are gipsies, Romany or travellers.

The study, by HM Prisons Inspectorate, concluded that people from these backgrounds are ‘significantly over-represented in prison’.

It called for ‘comprehensive monitoring’ of the number of prisoners from the groups to understand why so many are behind bars. ‘The reasons for this over-representation lie outside the prison service and more needs to be done to understand and address this,’ the report said. The HM Prisons Inspectorate added that its prediction of total numbers is likely to be an underestimate.

The report was commissioned to help understand the experiences of particular groups in the prison system.

It finds that many from the three groups have a ‘mistrust’ of the police and the justice system, because they think it is designed to help ‘permanently settled communities’.

They cite evidence that gipsy offenders are more likely to be given a prison sentence and be remanded in custody because they do not have a permanent address and because of fears that they may abscond.

The 2011 census included 58,000 people who identified themselves as gipsy or traveller. However, it did not survey for Romany and the census has struggled to track travellers.

In April 2012, the Mail reported on a gang of gipsy pickpockets, the Rostas family, who stole from at least 185 commuters on late night trains leaving London and used the cash to build five mansions in Romania.

There are around 85,000 inmates in England and Wales. The population of women prisoners is nearly 4,000.

In the report, prisoners were asked to identify themselves as gipsy, Romany or traveller.

The report says the word gipsy refers to Romany groups from Europe who settled in England in medieval times and lived nomadic lives. Romany or Roma speak the Romani language or did so in the past, while traveller refers to communities including Scottish, Welsh and Irish travellers who live nomadically.

The definition includes ‘occupational travellers’ such as ‘showpeople’ and ‘new travellers’.

HMP Woodhill was praised in the report for celebrating ‘Gipsy and Traveller Month’ and giving more telephone credit to gipsy prisoners to help pay for phone calls to their families.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘We are committed to ensuring fair and equal treatment for all prisoners.

‘As part of this, we recently launched a campaign to encourage and support gipsy, traveller and Roma prisoners to declare their heritage and address some of the sensitive issues affecting them and their communities.

‘Since the start of this, we have seen a 50 per cent increase in declarations.’


The parent police are the adult world’s school bullies

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, bleary-eyed and monosyllabic after seven months of looking after baby George, are taking a break. They have flown to the Maldives for a week, and parked George with his grandmother (not the one at Buckingham Palace). A chorus of disapproval greeted the news. “Did they?” swelled into “How dare they?”

The parents’ trip revealed the parent trap: anyone who breaks the rules on how to raise children falls foul of the parental police. This elite crack team of professional high-flying women patrol every aspect of child rearing with gimlet eyes and incorruptible rigidity.

These are not Plebgate Sgt Plods who can’t get their story straight. Their rules are clear. They come into force from the birth, when Daddy must be on hand. Then, it’s breast is best; vacations without baby are verboten; and Mummy go back to work once her maternity leave is over.

Falling short of these expectations condemns Mummy and Daddy to the equivalent of the naughty corner; dinner parties fall silent at their mention of the child-free holiday, baby formula or Mummy’s decision to stay at home.

When even the Royals suffer this treatment, what hope is there for ordinary mortals? I worry for the brave women behind a new blog called The Conservative Woman. Their constituency is the large, but overlooked, group of mothers who stay at home or who only work because they can’t afford not to. Alas, like the Duke and Duchess, these mothers will come under attack from the parental police.

Displaying all the logic of PC Plod, the same childhood cop who regards as suspect a mother who takes a holiday without her seven-month-old child, condemns as criminal the mother who stays home to raise her baby. She is a loser, a traitor and the worst possible example for the new generation. The coppers believe that a week’s jaunt that will give parents a rest and maybe even a bit of romance will traumatise the infant. The holiday in the Maldives will prevent Mummy and baby bonding, stunt baby’s development, and risk his happiness for ever more -- But somehow, a child will only prosper if Mummy goes back to work and misses out on 365 rather than a mere seven days of his progress.

It’s nonsense, and duplicitous nonsense at that. The parental police call themselves feminists and make a lot of noise about supporting other women. They believe in quotas to boost female representation; they fight FGM, and forced marriage. They talk of rights and of “a woman’s choice”. But when that woman chooses not to uphold their values, they mock her.

Kate is experiencing their tongue-lashing now. Only a few weeks ago, the television presenter Nick Knowles’s wife suffered a similar fate when she said she did not want him at the birth of their first child. How ironic that the parental police, whose women officers fought for female independence, should now promote a herd mentality. Everyone must follow their prescription, or else.

Their diktats on child rearing sound as rigid as statist propaganda. That’s appropriate, perhaps, given that many of the childhood cops want the state to take over the raising of children through child-care centres, crèches, SureStart and so on.

Wills and Kate are getting off lightly. Kate, who is not expected to have an office career, will never bear the brunt of the parenting police. Once they’re back from the Maldives, suntanned and rested, everyone will get over the unpleasantness at their departure. But the Conservative Woman’s website had better get ready for a lot of stick. I hope they stand firm, and draw strength from the knowledge that they represent millions of women who refuse to let the parent police run their lives.


Food For Thought

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents' permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion ... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book, but you don't have to show ID for the right to vote on who runs the government .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If, in the largest city of the country, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because the government says a 24-ounce sugary drink might make you fat .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hi-jab is only subject to having her neck and head searched because of her religion .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher's "cute," but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If hard work and success is rewarded with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell phones .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If the government's plan for getting people back to work is to reward them with 99 weeks of unemployment checks with no requirement to prove they applied for it ..... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more "safe" according to the government .... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.


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


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