Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Political correctness is making kids fat
You read that right. Warm, fuzzy well-intentioned yet poorly thought-out politically correct ideas are making our children obese. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
The percentage of children 6–11 years old in the United States who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents 12–19 years old who were obese increased from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent over the same period.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance” — too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. Kids today aren’t active enough to burn off the calories.
The 1980 statistics are from an era when elementary school gym class consisted of intense physical activities like basketball, rope climbing and an old favorite, dodgeball. As was the case in math, English or science, some kids were more gifted than others in physical education. Some excelled in the various forms of exercise and some did not, but every child participated. Everyone got a workout. In short, it was healthy.
As a youngster, I was competitive in the traditional sports, but didn’t have great arm strength. When we first started doing pull-ups in gym, my total was … zero. But after a couple of classes where the girls could witness our strength or lack thereof, some of the other boys and I found it in us to manage a few. Never underestimate the power of incentive.
Learning the concept of incentive and working toward goals is a big part of sports anyway. Understanding the importance of teamwork, measuring your own improvement and feeling good about being in shape are all benefits of athletics, even if it’s only in gym class.
At least those were the lessons until political correctness began to kick in. Many of the traditional sports have been removed from gym classes and are now considered “too competitive.” It is said they might harm the self esteem of the less athletic students.
Physical education classes today often consist of classroom/textbook type learning about the importance of exercise rather than actual exercise itself.
Every kid gets a trophy today simply for participating in Little League, Pee Wee Basketball or other organized sports. Gone are the days when you actually had to win in order to earn a trophy. Just showing up is enough. Gone is the incentive to excel. Winning or losing? It doesn’t matter. Why practice? Why improve? Just give me my trophy.
Ironically, at the same time that we’ve watered down PE classes and children’s athletics in an effort to assure that no kid sprains his self esteem, First lady Michelle Obama is pushing kale and cutting brownies from school lunch programs everywhere. The lunch changes and the loss of actual exercise are competing politically correct agendas. Who wins in this PC battle?
If you check out the number of fat kids, it’s obvious the easy trophies and PE classes with more pencils than balls are winning. The PC agenda is making our kids obese.
David Starkey takes a swipe at the thin lady: Historian tells Mrs Clooney to 'shut up', claiming Human Rights Act has gone too far
A man with dangerous spectacles
David Starkey has taken a swipe at George Clooney's lawyer wife, telling her to 'shut up' and accusing her of working in a 'human rights industry'.
Amal Clooney, 37, is a respected barrister specialising in human rights and international law.
But Dr Starkey, 70, said judges and lawyers have hijacked the European Convention on Human Rights and expanded it beyond the purpose proposed by Winston Churchill after the Second World War.
The result has been a society where people are too concerned about their human rights and do not think enough about their duties to society, he claimed.
The balance between the two, dating back 800 years to Magna Carta, has been thrown off-kilter said Dr Starkey, who recently published Magna Carta: The True Story Behind The Charter.
He said it could be restored if 'the Amal Clooneys and Shami Chakrabartis would shut up', also referring to the director of human rights campaign group Liberty.
Mrs Clooney may have shot into the public eye when she married her actor husband in a lavish Italian ceremony last year, but she has forged a notable career as an international human rights lawyer.
Among her previous roles she served as an adviser to Kofi Annan in his role as a United Nations special adviser for Syria.
She also represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his extradition proceedings.
The Oxford graduate completed her Masters of Law at New York University and worked in the city at the firm Sullivan & Cromwell.
She returned to London in 2010, joining Doughty Street Chambers as a barrister.
Mrs Clooney has since lectured on international criminal law at SOAS (University of London), The New School in New York City, The Hague Academy of International Law, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Decline of Christian America
"This is a Christian nation," said the Supreme Court in 1892.
"America was born a Christian nation," echoed Woodrow Wilson. Harry Truman affirmed it: "This is a Christian nation."
But in 2009, Barack Hussein Obama begged to differ: "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation."
Comes now a Pew Research Center survey that reveals the United States is de-Christianizing at an accelerated rate.
Whereas 86 percent of Americans in 1990 identified as Christians, by 2007, that was down to 78 percent. Today only 7 in 10 say they are Christians. But the percentage of those describing themselves as atheists, agnostics or nonbelievers has risen to 23. That exceeds the Catholic population and is only slightly below evangelicals.
Those in the mainline Protestant churches -- Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians -- have plummeted from 50 percent of the U.S. population in 1958 to 14 percent today. By accommodating the social revolution of the 1960s to stay relevant, mainline churches appear to have made themselves irrelevant to America's young.
The decline in Christian identity is greatest among the young. While 85 percent of Americans born before 1945 still call themselves Christians, only 57 percent of those born after 1980 do.
If we want to see our future, we should probably look to Europe, where Catholic Ireland just voted in a landslide to legalize same-sex marriage and where cathedrals and churches are being turned into tourist attractions and museums and even bars and restaurants.
What are the causes of a de-Christianized America?
High among them is the Supreme Court, which, since the Earl Warren era began, purged Christianity from all public schools and the public square -- and has been met with a puzzling lack of resistance from Middle America to the secularist revolution being imposed upon it.
Second, an anti-Christian elite captured the cultural heights -- the arts, elite universities, popular culture, the media -- and began, through movies, books and magazines, an assault on Christian beliefs and morality.
Third was the social revolution of the 1960s, which began with the arrival of the baby boomers on campus in 1964. Five years on, Woodstock Nation was wallowing in the mud, listening to Country Joe & the Fish.
The counterculture of the '60s would be used as a foil to build 49-state landslides for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, but then the '60s views and values were embraced by the elites and came to dominate the culture in the time of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Given his baggage, "Slick Willy" of Yoknapatawpha County would have been a comic figure in the 1950s. Today he is the Democratic Party's beau ideal of a statesman.
Many churches came out to meet the cultural revolution halfway. The results were irrelevance and scandal -- too many Elmer Gantrys in televangelist pulpits and too many predators in priestly cassocks.
What are the consequences of a de-Christianized America and West? Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. (If you would seek its monuments, look around you.)
Half of marriages end in divorce. Fewer children are being born, and of these, over 40 percent are out of wedlock. Record drug use rates and dropout rates and soaring crime rates that have declined only because we have an incarceration rate that rivals South Africa's.
Despite astonishing advances in medicine, we have far more and far more varied and deadly STDs.
As Christianity dies, individualism, materialism and hedonism replace it. "Selfies" could be the name for the generation for whom Easter Sunday long ago took a back seat to Super Bowl Sunday. More than a million abortions a year, assisted suicide and euthanasia are seen as the milestones of social progress in the new America.
"Panem et circenses," bread and circuses, were what the late Roman Empire was all about. With us, it is sex, drugs and rock, with variations on all three.
Historically, as the faith dies, the culture and civilization to which it gave birth die, and then the people die. And a new tribe with its own gods comes to occupy the emptying land.
On the old and new continents, it is the native-born of European ancestry who are de-Christianizing, aging and dying. And the nations they created are the ones depopulating.
To occupy Rome, the barbarians came from the east and north. To occupy the West, they are coming from the south. And like the Romans of the fourth century, we seem paralyzed and powerless to stop them.
Christianity was the founding faith of the West. That faith and the moral code and culture it produced once united this disparate and diverse nation and civilization.
As Christianity fades away and the moral code and culture it generated recede into irrelevance, what will hold us together?
Economically, we are dependent on foreigners for the necessities of our national life. Our politics are poisonous. Our racial divisions, once ameliorated by shared belief in the same God and Bible, are rawer than they were in the 1950s.
As for equality, diversity and global democracy, who will march and die for that?
Historian Arnold Toynbee said it well: "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder."
Where Are All The Gay Marriages?
Ireland has just had a national referendum that passed a constitutional amendment to legalize gay marriage. Same sex couples can already get married in 36 states, and next month the Supreme Court is likely to recognize a right to gay marriage under the Constitution. It seems that gay marriage has already become as traditional as apple pie. And a disclosure, I support gay marriage as a basic legal right, and I recommend to my fellow conservatives to graciously accept that it will probably soon be the law of the land.
And yet, where are all the gay marriages? You would think from the massive PR campaign of the last few years that millions of gay couples were just pining away to get hitched and settle down in a cozy little house with a white picket fence. Well, so far the promised flood of gay marriage licenses has turned out to be not much more than a trickle.
There are now 380,000 married gay couples in America. Out of an estimated adult gay population of 12.5 million, that’s a marriage rate of 6%. That’s not negligible, but far less than a fervent embrace of a right that LGBT activists, liberals and other social engineers assured us was something that most gay people ardently desired.
In reality, the cause of gay marriage was always more of a political objective and a fund raising tool. If you even casually survey broader gay culture and society, you will observe that cruises and cruising, fashion and being fabulous are the main focuses of most gay people. Gay marriage became a rallying cry not so much because it was something a majority of gay people urgently wanted, but because it was something available to straight people but not to gay people. Call it the politics of envy more than a crusade for human rights.
And for some gay people, it is less about marriage per se than it is about weddings. If you take a cursory glance through any gay magazine or website (and I advise doing so with one eye and prepared to quickly avert your attention if you are in the least bit squeamish) you would conclude that very often the gay definition of “wedding” is essentially “a fabulously gay party” (forgive the - intentional - pun). Gay people love to dress up, and on what occasion do people get more dressed up for than a wedding? Of course there’s also lots of gaiety all around, with lavish decor, great dance music, and lots of fancy cakes. And a predictably liberal and boring churchperson there to officiate the ceremony with a lot of blathering about the beautiful rainbow of diversity and so forth.
But as I said, we conservatives need to start accepting the new legal and political realities. A rear guard campaign opposing the fact that gay marriage is here will not be a winning issue in 2016, and President Hillary should be a sobering enough thought. And yes, some people have perfectly justifiable religious and moral objections to same-sex marriages. But then the Republic has so far survived cultural calamities like The Village People and their anthem YMCA, it will almost certainly survive gay marriage as well.
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.