Monday, June 30, 2014
More on sperm-donated children
I put up yesterday (below) a report that chilren conceived from donor sperm had a high rate of dysfunction. The article concerned was from a leftist source so gave the impression that just being such a child was upsetting. The impression was that environmental causes were behind the poor adjustment. I thought at the time that genetic issues in the matter had been slighted but was in too much of a rush to note that. Some women turning to donors would be doing so because of husband infertility but many others would be women who were too poorly adjusted to form a relationship with a normal man. And that probably indicated serious inadequacies in the mother and such inadequacies could well be passed on to the children.
A senior medical reader with experience in the matter has confirmed my reservations -- and in fact tells me that it is even worse than I thought. I quote:
"Yes, agreed that children’s search for real parents can be unnerving, but a well adjusted teenager would not become unglued by such or commit crimes or suicide; the maladjustment comes, more likely, from their parents (natural and adopted). I can tell you this from personal experience.
From 1982 – 1987 I worked at [name given]. One of the early pioneers in IVF worked there; we had a string of patients that, in my not so humble opinion, were among the world’s worst adjusted misfits; unlikely they would be fit parents.
Most were well educated, had some money (cash only), and many traveled great distances to come to [that hospital]. Many had tried multiple times elsewhere. Most were amazingly self absorbed (“it’s all about me”) - they radiated self loathing about not conceiving naturally.
I would favor the parents more than “search for origins” for creating abnormal children.
A personal relative was mentally ill; she harassed her adopted daughter by telling her “you are adopted” every day, reinforcing the girl’s feelings of inadequacy; needless to say, no one was surprised when this young lady became screwed up.
I would not at all be surprised if some of the same results (in IVF offspring) occurred in children adopted or surrogated from gay couples; these professionally victimized gays are among the most self indulgent (“it’s all about me”) people alive; this MUST be transferred to the children."
The Importance of the Family
There’s a reason that progressives have historically been so hostile to it
By Jonah Goldberg
While I was in London, I had some really interesting conversations with some British conservatives. It was a disparate bunch, but there was a consistency to a lot of what they had to say. Nearly all the Brits I talked to think their country has lost its cultural confidence. They also think that the U.S. is in the process of doing likewise. That’s a worthy topic for discussion, and I think both contentions are largely true. But I want to talk about something else. When talking about politics, many of the same Brits would cavalierly mention that they don’t care about “social issues” or that social issues aren’t relevant in British politics. As an analytical matter, that seems right. But I couldn’t help but wonder if there’s a connection there.
Now of course, it depends what you mean by social issues. But it seems to me that as a broad generalization, social issues revolve around the role and authority of the family. Arguments about abortion, gay marriage, obscenity, sex ed, etc. all connect to the family directly or indirectly. Even gun rights have a lot to do with the family, and not just because “gun culture” is primarily learned in the home. Guns fit neatly into the conception of the autonomous family and the role of parents as primary protectors of their children.
But the key word is culture. No institution transmits culture more effectively than the family. We learn language, dialect, and accents in the home (we learn grammar at school). We get most of our religion and morality at home. We learn from our parents how citizens behave in a society and what they should expect from society and government. It’s important to keep in mind that while parents teach their kids by telling them things, the real learning comes from watching what parents do — or don’t do. Kids are wired to emulate their parents. They see how we divide our time. The habits of the heart are formed in the home.
And this is why progressives of all labels have had their eye on the family. It is the state’s greatest competition. As I’ve written a bunch of times around here, if you listen to Barack Obama’s vision of America, it’s one where there’s the state and the individual and pretty much nothing in between. Civil society, mediating institutions, and other “islands of separateness” are problems in Obama’s eyes. Well, the family is the truest island of separateness. In the Life of Julia, the state is her family.
I’m reminded of a passage from Liberal Fascism where I am discussing “children’s rights” — a concept developed precisely to get the state into the home as quickly as possible:
Since Plato’s Republic, politicians, intellectuals, and priests have been fascinated with the idea of “capturing” children for social-engineering purposes. This is why Robespierre advocated that children be raised by the state. Hitler — who understood as well as any the importance of winning the hearts and minds of youth — once remarked,
“When an opponent says ‘I will not come over to your side,’ I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already . . . You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community.’”
Woodrow Wilson candidly observed that the primary mission of the educator was to make children as unlike their parents as possible.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman stated it more starkly. “There is no more brilliant hope on earth to-day,” the feminist icon proclaimed, “than this new thought about the child . . . the recognition of ‘the child,’ children as a class, children as citizens with rights to be guaranteed only by the state; instead of our previous attitude toward them of absolute personal [that is, parental] ownership — the unchecked tyranny . . . of the private home.”
James Pethokoukis cites a fascinating passage from George Weigel’s biography of Pope John Paul II:
"Perhaps the hardest-fought battle between Church and [Poland's] regime involved family life, for the Communists understood that men and women secure in the love of their families were a danger. Housing, work schedules, and school hours were all organized by the state to separate parents from their children as frequently as possible. Apartments were constructed to accommodate only small families, so that children would be regarded as a problem. Work was organized in four shifts and families were rarely together. The workday began at 6 or 7 a.m., so children had to be consigned to state-run child-care centers before school. The schools themselves were consolidated, and children were moved out of their local communities for schooling."
Now I don’t think today’s progressives (at least not most of them) are consciously at war with the traditional family. But they are certainly not its biggest fans, either. Perhaps the most depressing thing about the Democratic party is that its electoral success hinges on the continuing unraveling of the traditional family. The more Julias, the better. Democrats have a huge advantage among single women. Married women recognize that the government can never be a family.
Getting married was once a celebrated life goal. It still is for millions of people, of course, but it’s less and less celebrated as a cultural priority — at least not for heterosexuals. One of my biggest peeves is that 99 percent of the time you hear a liberal saying anything positive about marriage, it’s about gay marriage. And now that we’re getting gay marriage, some activists don’t feel the need to saying anything nice about it at all.
Think about how often you hear politicians, economists, educators, and journalists talk about the importance of going to college. Now consider that getting married is about as beneficial to your lifetime economic prospects as going to college. And let’s be clear: It is far better for children to grow up with married parents (even if they didn’t go to college!) than it is for them to grow up with a single parent with a degree in gender studies from Princeton.
Charles Murray exposed the ugly secret of the American elite in his book Coming Apart: The rich and successful are closeted traditionalists when it comes to how they raise their own children. They’re just horrible hypocrites when it comes to everyone else’s children. “It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged,” Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, told the New York Times.
As Charles puts it, the biggest problem with today’s elite is that they refuse to preach what they practice.
Anyway, I guess my point is that when I hear people say they don’t care about social issues but they worry about a loss of “civilizational confidence,” creeping socialism, and the rest, I just wonder if they’re not part of the problem. I’m not saying that there’s a direct link between, say, being pro-life and supporting laissez-faire capitalism. But I do think that much of what passes for laissez-faire capitalism is an artifact of our cultural heritage, and that cultural heritage is formed and transmitted by cultural institutions. Change those institutions, subvert them to the state by making them dependent on the state, and the culture goes with them.
Opponents of child tax credits and the like are shouting “social engineering!” I like and respect some of these critics, but I think that this is an asinine criticism.
Think of it this way. I love artificial reefs. They provide new habitat for all kinds of wildlife. Over time a pile of concrete or a sunken oilrig can turn into a whole vibrant ecosystem. But it is absolutely true that building artificial reefs is a kind of meddling with the natural order. I have no problem with meddling with the natural order if the meddling helps the natural order heal from other negative meddling we do all of the time. The oceans are overfished and too polluted. Why not help counteract that?
As Brad Wilcox, Ramesh Ponnuru, Robert Stein, and other champions of a conservative family policy will tell you, their proposals are aimed at counterbalancing the burdens liberal social policy has put on families. It’s a bit like Bill Buckley’s famous line about moral equivalence. If one man pushes old ladies in front of oncoming buses and another man pushes old ladies out of the way of oncoming buses, you simply cannot describe both men as the sort who push old ladies around.
If one political party wants to engineer family formation and another political party is invested in engineering the destruction of families, you simply can’t denounce both approaches as “social engineering.” Or I guess you can, but doing so is dumb.
Now BBC dumbs down WW1 with foul-mouthed rap: Factually inaccurate video tells history of Great War in the form of a hip-hop style battle
One hundred years ago today, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated... setting off a chain of events that led to the First World War.
But did you know that the Austrian aristocrat didn’t see the pistol of his assassin because he was ‘too busy guzzling his tenth Wiener schnitzel’?
And that gunman Gavrilo Princip, a member of Serbian terror group the Black Hand, had ‘popped a cap in his a** for my Black Hand brothers’?
Well, that’s according to the BBC – which commissioned a five-minute video in which the key figures behind the outbreak of the Great War play out the complex tangle of events in the form of a ‘rap battle’ – complete with hip-hop style swearing, sexual innuendo and national stereotyping.
Yesterday experts branded the clip – made as part of the corporation’s efforts to mark the war’s centenary – as a factually inaccurate, juvenile and desperate attempt to court popularity with a streetwise audience.
The video – made by production company Ballista – has actors play the roles of characters including King George V, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
They make jokes about sex, Queen Victoria, refer to anachronistic characters like Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson and describe the French as having a ‘snail-sucking, frog-cooking, garlic stench’.
Rap lyrics by the main characters include:
Emperor Franz Josef (Franz Ferdinand’s uncle): Russians, Mongols, Turks, my b******, best watch out ‘cos my trigger finger itches. You’re tiresome, you’re irksome, like a Slavic Jeremy Clarkson.
Kaiser Wilhelm II (Germany): Empire braggarts, you hate the French and their snail-sucking, frog-cooking, garlic stench. (Camera pans over to General Joffre standing in the corner). As for your dreadnoughts, wave them goodbye I’ll make your navy into gravy for my sauerkraut pie.
Kaiser Wilhelm II: Look into my eyes, you see compromise? Your collective demise will see our rise. I can’t back down now, I’ll look a clown now. Ain’t **** that can stop this countdown now. I’m going for a lie down now.
Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘It’s a desperate, frantic and hopeless attempt to engage children, they have given up on every sensible method so they resort to rap music.
'It’s just another example of the complete dumbing down of what history should be about. They would argue they are making it accessible to young people but it’s actually very patronising in that sense because it fails to challenge them.
‘It’s a desperate attempt to appeal to the street, to children they have already lost, basically this is an indication they have given up on any proper teaching.’
The video, which has been watched more than 21,000 times since it was uploaded on YouTube on Tuesday, was written by comedian Lee Henman.
He has admitted that when he was commissioned for the project he knew ‘b***** all about World War I, except what I’d gleaned from Blackadder Goes Forth’.
Oxford historian Professor Sir Hew Strachan said: ‘I do not think this is a sensible way to engage people and it runs the risk of further distorting history in the process. Gavrilo Princip also seems to be a Serbian rather than a Bosnian.’
Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said licence fee payers would be angry at the use of cash for ‘lazy national stereotypes and off-colour gags’.
Ballista did not respond to requests for a comment.
A spokesman for the BBC said: ‘Clear warnings are given about the content at the start of this video which introduces younger audiences - in a humorous and accessible way - to the complicated political alliances that led to the outbreak of WW1.
‘We are marking the WW1 centenary with our most ambitious pan-BBC season of programming to date and this WW1 Uncut film sits alongside over 2,500 hours of landmark documentary series, commemoration, drama, debate, music, arts, UK-wide events and online activity.’
NHS worker who 'bullied’ Muslim by praying for her
A Christian health worker has begun a legal challenge after being disciplined by the NHS for praying with a Muslim colleague.
Victoria Wasteney, a senior occupational therapist in one of the country’s most racially diverse areas, was also accused of bullying the colleague after giving her a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.
In addition, senior managers told Miss Wasteney that it was inappropriate to invite the woman to a community sports day organised by her church.
The complaints led to Miss Wasteney being suspended on full pay for nine months.
Three charges were upheld against the 37-year-old Christian at an internal disciplinary hearing in February and five charges were found to be unsubstantiated. She had to accept a final written warning at work which will remain on her records for 12 months, as well as accept a range of other requirements designed to stop her discussing her faith and beliefs with colleagues.
Miss Wasteney said she was challenging her employers in court because political correctness in the NHS was stifling ordinary conversations about faith.
“I believe in tolerance for everyone and that is why I am challenging what has happened to me,” she added.
The young Muslim woman was appointed as a newly qualified occupational therapist in a team of 30 managed by Miss Wasteney at East London NHS Foundation Trust.
“One of the earliest conversations I can recall was one in which she said she had just moved to London. She felt that God had a real plan and a purpose for her,” said Miss Wasteney, from Essex. Miss Wasteney told her colleague that she went to church, but was “very cautious because our environment is such that these things can be misconstrued and, with her being from a different faith background, I was mindful of being respectful of that”.
Miss Wasteney said the woman was interested in the anti-human trafficking community work being done by her church.
Over a period of time, Miss Wasteney said she invited her colleague to several church-organised events and thought no more about it. Later, when the woman was due to go off work for hospital treatment, Miss Wasteney gave her a book to read during her recuperation.
“A friend had recommended it to me, a book called I Dared to Call Him Father. I hadn’t read it. I still haven’t. But it is a story about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.
“Because we had had these conversations it did not seem abnormal. It certainly was not an attempt to convert her to Christianity, as it was put to me later.”
On another occasion the woman came to Miss Wasteney’s office in tears, upset about her health and problems at home.
“I said to her that she had strong faith and she should draw on that faith,” said Miss Wasteney. “I said 'Pray!’ She told me she could not pray, so I replied 'Maybe I can pray for you?’ And she said 'OK’.
“I asked if I could put my hand on her knee, and she said yes. I don’t know if I said 'Lord’ or 'God’ but I said what I thought was the most neutral. Then I said 'I trust that You will bring peace and You will bring healing’.”
In June last year, Miss Wasteney was told that complaints had been made about bullying and harassment.
A disciplinary hearing at her work in February found her guilty of three charges of misconduct – praying with the colleague, giving her the book and inviting her to church events.
Miss Wasteney’s case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, which has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister.
Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said the case demonstrated that “the NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian”.
A spokesman for East London NHS Foundation Trust said it did not comment on individual cases.
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.