Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Last Week Showed The Clearest Problem With Modern Feminism
People wonder why some of us are so unimpressed with modern feminism. To those people, I would direct their attention to the news that a Michigan doctor allegedly performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on multiple young girls.
More specifically, I’d direct their attention to the lack of attention feminists have given this horrific story.
The Department of Justice has charged female emergency room physician Jumana Nagarwala with performing FGM in the U.S. It alleges Nagarwala performed the procedures on “multiple minor girls.” Nagarwala is the first person to be charged in the U.S. under anti-FGM laws.
There has been no Twitter storm, no Facebook blowup and no calls for action. Slate hasn’t yet written about it. Salon, a highly-opinionated feminist website, took wire copy from The Associated Press. The Huffington Post wrote two pieces, one which made sure to point out that FGM predates religion, and another that mentioned the doctor in the first sentence, but then proceeded to rant about the patriarchy for six paragraphs.
Shannon Watts, the anti-gun activist and fake feminist who blindly screamed sexism at United Airlines when it had done nothing wrong, has said nothing. It’s a lot easier to claim a corporation is, as Watts put it, “sexist and sexualizes young girls,” than it is for her to fight against actual sexualization of young girls when their genitals are being cut off. Perhaps that’s because with the former, Watts doesn’t need to do anything aside from tweet, and with the latter, she does.
Sarah Silverman and Chrissy Teigen, both of whom declared they would stop giving United their business, haven’t tweeted anything about Nagarwala.
Linda Sarsour, who organized the Women’s March on Washington, was silent until someone brought it up in reply to her tweet saying “Absolute nightmare” about Trump bombing Afghanistan. She offered a lackluster “I sure do” when asked if she wept for the girls in Michigan. Sarsour said nothing else about it, even though multiple people tweeted the story at her.
Loud-and-proud feminists Lena Dunham, Cecile Richards and Ashley Judd have also stayed quiet. “One of us can be dismissed. Two of us can be ignored. But together we are a movement and we are unstoppable,” Richards said at the march against President Donald Trump.
Why isn’t that movement being driven full-force against FGM? As with Watts, screaming into a microphone or shooting off a tweet at Trump are preferable to taking a stand against real barbaric treatment of women.
Hillary Clinton hasn’t mentioned it, either, though her daughter Chelsea did.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2012 “that 513,000 women and girls in the United States were at risk of or had been subjected to female genital mutilation,” according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s “Report to the Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader, U.S. Senate” in June 2016.
The report went on to say, “CDC attributes this change primarily to increased immigration from countries where FGM/C is practiced, rather than an increase in the occurrence of FGM/C.”
“More than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk for FGM annually,” the World Health Organization (WHO) website states. “The practice is most common in the western, eastern and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries the Middle East and Asia.”
Unicef provides a graphic showing where FGM is most predominately practiced. The top four include Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Sudan. Most of those countries are Muslim-majority or have large Muslim populations. Obscure Christian sects also perform FGM, as do some Jewish ones.
Department of Homeland Security figures show thousands of people immigrate from these countries to the U.S. And as WHO explained, FGM is practiced “among migrants from these areas. FGM is therefore a global concern.”
There’s an obvious clash of narratives here: Liberals want more immigration, and since feminism has been absorbed into the amorphous social justice blob that is liberalism, so do they. If immigrants are cutting up little girls in the U.S., that’s bad for the narrative. Therefore, it’s not at the top of their priority list. FGM gets pushed even lower if the perpetrator happens to be Muslim. FGM isn’t a “sexy” political topic, it’s not going to win anyone any votes, and doesn’t affect the majority of the country. Focus only on Trump’s sexism and Republicans trying to defund Planned Parenthood and everything will be OK.
Liberals need to accept that if they want increased immigration and acceptance of refugees, there are serious cultural disparities that must be aggressively eradicated. Not every part of every non-white, non-Christian culture should be protected.
Feminists have to unleash their fury on FGM wherever it’s found — especially if it’s uncovered in the U.S.
Prove that feminism cares about more than superficial first-world problems. Prove that feminism is willing to focus its time and energy on topics that don’t get Twitter followers or airtime on CNN and MSNBC. Prove that feminism isn’t as shallow as it seems to be.
Opposing immigration wasn’t always "racist"
Today, the battle lines over immigration policy are sharply defined. In the last two years, Donald Trump’s rise has drawn attention to the Republican Party’s lurch toward the right. Opposition to current levels of immigration, illegal and otherwise, has taken on a tone that is stridently populist, even reactionary.
Meanwhile on the left, big-city mayors and blue-state legislatures are declaring sanctuaries for undocumented residents. Democrats have criticized not just Trump’s limitations on refugees, travelers from Muslim countries, and H-1B visas, but also his stepped-up enforcement of existing immigration laws. While liberals and progressives have stopped short of endorsing open borders, they’ve come to treat opposition to illegal immigration and constraints on illegal immigration as unacceptable, even racist.
In academia and the media, Trumpism is receiving plenty of attention. Yet the Democrats’ new default position — that opposition to illegal immigration and constraints on legal immigration are virtually unacceptable — is just as extreme, certainly by historic standards. The shift in the liberal perspective has just received far less scrutiny.
Not long ago, liberals and progressives felt far more conflicted about immigration. Within living memory, a powerful labor movement favored limits on immigration and fought against the reviled Bracero guest worker program, which began during World War II and was finally ended in 1964. At times, labor organizer Cesar Chavez supported the arrest and deportation of illegal farm workers. His union, whose members were predominantly of Mexican origin, viewed these interlopers from Mexico as strike-breakers and scabs.
Today, progressive unions like the Service Employees International Union are prepared to support some form of guest worker program. In general, today’s labor unions have come to accept that sovereign states, including the United States, either cannot or will not control national borders, and that this new status quo must be embraced. Meanwhile, multiculturalism has become a more powerful force within the Democratic Party — and American society — than labor solidarity. Any liberal restraint on immigration tradition has disappeared.
More than any other contemporary issue, the debate over immigration relies heavily on historical analogy. Progressives bolster their case by invoking America’s history as “a nation of immigrants” and pointing to America’s shameful neglect of Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe.
Yet historical analogies can be misleading. Take the Statue of Liberty. Immigration advocates repeatedly invoke its evocative image to make their point. Yet instead of beckoning newcomers hither with her lamp “beside the Golden Door,” Lady Liberty was intended by her French donors — embattled antimonarchical republicans — as a tribute to what was then the world’s only successful republic. Far from inviting freedom-loving peoples around the world to the United States, Lady Liberty’s torch was intended to inspire them to stay put and establish republics of their own.
Just as today’s opposition to high levels of immigration is presumed to be rooted in prejudice and racism, so too are these same motives attributed to post-World War I policies that curtailed immigration and imposed national-origin quotas. To be sure, some immigration restrictionists at that time did rely on racist arguments. Yet historians paint a much more nuanced picture of that era.
In her examination of a 25-year battle to enact a literacy test, Harvard economic historian Claudia Goldin observes that the idea “gained momentum because immigration in the 1890s had shifted to ethnic and national groups whose schooling levels and living standards were distinctly below those of previous groups.” She concludes that this “flood of immigrants eventually did result in large negative effects on the wages of native-born workers.”
Likewise, in a 2005 Oxford University Press book on global migration, economic historians Timothy J. Hatton and Jeffrey G. Williamson emphasize the importance of labor market fundamentals. A stream of illiterate migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe was facilitated by the advent of steamship travel, rendering the trans-Atlantic voyage safer, faster, and cheaper. The resulting “declining positive selection” also translated into increasing numbers of men arriving without families who did not intend to remain, but rather to save money and eventually return home. These “birds of passage” posed challenges involving neighborhood stability, community cohesion, social disorder, and crime.
Arguing that “the low and declining quality of the immigrants” arriving between 1890 and 1930 provoked subsequent restrictions, Hatton and Williamson conclude that “racism and xenophobia do not seem to have been at work in driving the evolution of policy toward potential European immigrants.” Nativists armed with racial and ethnic arguments did attempt to win trade unionists to their cause. But according to the British scholar A.T. Lane, “careful examination of the columns of many labor journals has produced few examples of racist thinking applied to immigration.”
In the early 20th century, the possible effect of large-scale immigration upon the labor market was the subject of spirited debate, including among labor advocates. Today, at least in progressive circles, even raising the question is nearly verboten.
A century ago, some progressives also raised legitimate concerns about the impact of mass immigration on national cohesion. The tensions between different national-origin groups in the United States noticeably deepened as World War I approached. Contrary to the reigning view that Germans were the object of unfounded prejudice and mistreatment while the Allies fought with the kaiser, historians have presented ample evidence that Germans in America openly displayed intemperate sympathy for the Fatherland.
In November 1915, the young Reinhold Niebuhr — a Lutheran pastor in Detroit, a son of German immigrants, and later a renowned liberal theologian — complained in a November 1915 letter to a mentor: “Among the ministers here at least and among many that I know of in other parts there is no real interest in the welfare of this country and no genuine American patriotism.” He continued, “Every aspect of German life and culture is glorified and practically every aspect of American life is ridiculed.”
Foreign conflicts echoed in American streets. In cities like Chicago, Polish immigrants sided with formally neutral America and vehemently opposed their German neighbors’ vociferous support for their ancestral homeland. Meanwhile, Irish immigrants and their American-born relatives sided with Germany and opposed America’s implicit support for Britain and the Allies. Not surprisingly, once America entered the war against Germany, such voices in support of the kaiser greatly diminished. But they did not disappear completely, nor did the sentiments behind them — evidence that, upon their arrival on these shores, immigrant identities did not immediately dissolve into a melting pot of Americanism.
In the opening decades of the last century there was a variety of reasons why Americans of an enlightened liberal bent might have supported limits on mass immigration. What’s striking about today’s debate, at least on the political left, is its unwillingness to entertain that possibility. At some point, a broad commitment to multiculturalism, and to sheltering beleaguered people from around the world, came into conflict with the labor movement’s past apprehensions about an influx of low-skilled labor, and the latter lost out. Unskilled immigrants have also become the steady, pliable providers of services for busy, upper-middle-class professionals — a group that increasingly dominates the Democratic ranks.
Liberal and progressive thinkers don’t seem to realize how far their position has shifted, even as policy elites describe the demographic consequences of mass immigration in blithely sweeping terms. “We are transforming ourselves,” declared Doris Meissner, the nation’s top immigration official under Bill Clinton, on many occasions. Rodolfo de la Garza of Columbia University has a telling subtitle for his recent book: “US Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America.”
In practice, such a transformative project was bound to have serious repercussions. In September 1919, a strike by the predominantly Irish police force in Boston helped propel the taciturn Yankee governor of Massachusetts, Calvin Coolidge, to Washington and eventually the White House. Nearly a century later, a populist running on a fiercely restrictionist platform won enough votes in Democratic Rust Belt states to claim the presidency. Trump, no doubt, played to racial sentiments. But he also saw something his opponents didn’t: that even if Democrats refuse to acknowledge some of the complexities of immigration, many voters still see a need for limits.
The new clerisy’s fondness for censorship makes it an enemy of truth
The most curious thing about the political class’s war in defence of truth is that it coexists with a war against freedom of speech. In one breath, our betters, whether it’s the technocrats of the EU or broadsheet thinkers, bemoan a crisis of truth, claiming that a combination of demagoguery and populist myth-making has propelled the modern West into a ‘post-truth’ era. Yet in the next they express disdain for the ideal of unfettered free thought and debate. Whether they’re instituting laws against ‘hate speech’ or enforcing social stigma against such things as ‘climate-change denial’ or ‘Europhobia’, they exhibit a palpable discomfort with the idea of a fully open public sphere in which nothing is unsayable.
We might even say that in 2017, there are two things that really animate the political and cultural elites of the West: first, their self-styled urge to defend truth, their pose as warriors for honesty against the misinformation of the new populists; and secondly, their agitation with unfettered discussion and with the expression of what they consider to be hateful or outré views. This is striking, because truth without freedom, without the freest possible space in which to debate and doubt and blaspheme, is not truth at all. It is dogma. It represents an assumption of intellectual and moral infallibility rather than a winning and proving of it in the only way that counts: through free public contestation. That our rulers both claim to love truth and fear freedom of speech utterly explodes the pretensions of their moral panic about a ‘post-truth’ era. It’s not truth they want to protect - it’s the authority of their prejudice.
Anybody genuinely concerned with the idea of truth, with deepening humanity’s understanding of itself, nature and society, with encouraging the deployment of reason in order to render the world more knowable, ought to have a natural and in fact quite fierce disposition to freedom of thought and speech. The two go hand in hand. Actually, the one — truth — is reliant on the other — freedom. This point has been consistently argued by liberals throughout the modern period. John Milton, in his passionate plea in 1644 against the licensing of the press in England, famously argued that we should ‘Let Truth and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worst in a free and open encounter?’ To guard the truth, or what we presume to be true, from free, open discussion is to do truth an ‘injury’, said Milton — it ‘misdoubts her strength’.
Censorship, Milton argued, is the implacable enemy of truth. In fact it is the ‘stop of Truth’. Repressing the utterance or publication of ‘scandalous, seditious, and libellous’ material is often done in the name of preserving truth, he said, but in fact it commits two wrongs against truth. First, in assuming the public should not have to think for itself, and in fact cannot do so, it weakens the public’s intellectual and moral capacities, dulling their ability autonomously to distinguish truth from falsehood. In ‘disexercising and blunting our abilities’, censorship represents a ‘discouragement of all learning’, said Milton. ‘Our faith and knowledge thrives by exercise, as well as our limbs’, he said. That is, we must use our mental and moral muscles, our faculty of judgement, as surely as we use our physical muscles, and censorship prevents us from doing that. And secondly, the censorship of scandal or sedition or ‘evil’ shrinks the sphere of public discussion and thus puts off the potential discovery of greater truths, he argued — by ‘hindring and cropping the discovery that might be yet further made both in religious and civill Wisdome’.
So censorship is hostile to truth both in its implicit doubting of the public’s capacity for critical, truthful thought and in its weakening of the kind of conditions in which old ideas might come to be superseded by newer, more truthful ones. Milton strikingly argued that if someone thinks something is true simply because he has been told it’s true, then this isn’t ‘truth’ in any meaningful sense. He wrote: ‘If [a man] beleeve things only because his Pastor sayes so, or the Assembly so determins, without knowing other reason, [then] though his belief be true, the very truth he holds becomes his heresie.’ Why? Because he has ‘gladly [posted] off to another’ the ‘charge and care’ of his beliefs and worldview. That is, he has outsourced his own moral universe to a higher authority; his belief in truth is passive and childish; truth has been given to him, not discovered or learned by him.
These arguments were pushed further by John Stuart Mill in the late 1800s. In On Liberty, Mill argues that truth and understanding are impossible to achieve in any meaningful way without the fullest possible freedom of speech. Every attempt to silence speech is an ‘assumption of infallibility’ on the part of the authorities, he argued. Censorship encourages dogmatic thinking and rigid conformism, not truth. In Mill’s words, ‘Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.’ That is, truth, or at least the conviction that one is speaking the truth, is utterly dependent on a free sphere that allows for complete liberty of contradicting our ideas, and mainstream ideas.
That today’s elites speak of truth while simultaneously agitating and even legislating against the possibility of ‘complete contradiction’ — that is, complete freedom of speech — suggests truth is not their motor. Rather, they have assumed infallibility; they expect from us an uncritical acceptance of their ideas. They think they are the holders of truth, not because they have subjected their ideology to the liberty of complete contradiction, but because they just know they are right. This is dogma, not truth; it is religion, not politics. In Mill’s words, if your ‘truth’ is not ‘fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, [then] it will be held as dead dogma, not a living truth’.
Such has been the belief in the interplay of freedom and truth, and that the latter cannot truly exist without the former, that liberals traditionally argued that not only should we not censor what we consider to be false, but we should actually encourage its expression. Mill, for example, was fascinated by, and impressed with, the fact that even the Roman Catholic Church allows for the expression of falsehood in certain circumstances. Even this ‘most intolerant of churches’ invites a ‘devil’s advocate’ to argue against the canonisation of a saint, he pointed out. The idea there was that truth, even the truth of a saint’s life, didn’t need to be protected against falsehood, and in fact might be improved upon through exposure to falsehood. In the 20th century, Thomas Irwin Emerson, the great American defender of freedom of speech, argued in his book The System of Freedom of Expression (1970) that those who wish to suppress or punish falsehoods, even libellous ones made with ‘actual malice’, fail to ‘take into account that false statements, whether intentional or not, perform a significant function in a system of freedom of expression by forcing citizens to defend, justify and rethink their positions’.
In stark contrast to this profound liberal tradition of associating truth with freedom of speech, and arguing against the suppression of any speech, however wrong or hateful or seditious it might be, today’s so-called liberals and self-styled defenders of truth against what they view as ‘post-truth’ mania are strikingly hostile to freedom of speech. The very same section of society currently arguing for greater respect for truth — what we might call the new clerisy: the insulated, technocratic-leaning political class that has dominated public life for the past 30 years or so — is often at the forefront of using either law or the considerable power of social stigma to prevent or weaken the expression of problematic views. And strikingly, they do this most frequently and most fervently in relation to the things that they consider to be ‘the truth’.
From climate change to the wisdom of pooling sovereignty into institutions like the EU to the ideology of multiculturalism, it is the very ideas our rulers consider to be most important, and most true, that are most feverishly guarded from the complete liberty of contradiction and scepticism — or ‘denial’, as they pejoratively call it. So there is an intense informal stigmatisation of ‘climate-change denial’. Those who question climate-change alarmism will be treated as heretics. Greens and others openly call on broadcasters to jettison their obsession with ‘balance’ and refuse to host ‘climate-change deniers’ because one side in this discussion is telling the truth and the other is lying. As a Guardian columnist argues, media ‘impartiality’ can lend itself to the ‘post-truth’ moment, by giving ‘undue attention to marginal opinion’. In short, we should broadcast ‘truth’ — established, unquestionable truth — and refuse to provide a platform to those who doubt it or refute it. Such an attempt to cleanse the public sphere of that which is considered false, or anti-truth, or post-truth, runs counter to hundreds of years of liberal thought.
Likewise, the ideals of the EU oligarchy have long been presumed to be above the complete liberty of contradiction. An armoury of delegitimising brands has been used to depict criticism of the EU as a species of prejudice, and possibly even a disorder, certainly something that cannot be freely expressed in polite society. The term ‘Europhobia’ suggests opposition to Brussels is an irrational fear, an illegitimate opinion. A writer for New Europe magazine puts ‘Europhobia’ alongside ‘xenophobia, nationalism, Islamophobia and racism’ as a value that is ‘alien to our postwar European culture’. The design is to chill its expression, make it a shameful conviction, unutterable in serious, intelligent circles.
Criticising multiculturalism is likewise demonised. Words like ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘xenophobia’ are deployed not only against those who say genuinely prejudiced things, but also against those who suggest Western liberal values are superior to, say, Islamic values. The informal freezing of full, frank discussion about the ideology of multiculturalism is an attempt to promote with menaces the new value of non-judgementalism, of relativism, above any strong political or moral conviction. The irony — relativism elevated to the status of an unquestionable truth. Hate-speech legislation, actual brute law, is also frequently deployed to the end of preserving the ideology of multiculturalism. The recent legal punishments of Swedish pastors for describing homosexuality as a ‘tumour’ on society, and French animal-rights activists who call halal meat ‘barbaric’, and Danish artists who paint insulting pictures of Muslim migrants, are intended as threatening reminders that the ridicule of other cultures will not be tolerated, and that treating all cultures and lifestyles as equally worthy of respect is the only ‘truth’ that will be tolerated.
That the ‘pro-truth’ technocratic class expends so much energy protecting its core values from contradiction and discussion — whether it is environmentalism (really the value of post-industry), or pooled sovereignty (the value of post-democracy), or multiculturalism (the value of post-judgement) — is very striking. It tells us that what is really happening in this era of concern about ‘post-truth’ is that the prejudices of the 21st-century elites are being reimagined as ‘truths’ that may not be contested freely — that is, they are being turned into dogmas, and put beyond open, unstigmatised public discussion. They are ‘truths’ only in the sense that, in Milton’s words, the Assembly — that is, the political and cultural establishment — ‘determins’ that they are. They are dead dogmas, not living truths. The very insulation of them from unfettered discussion confirms they have more in common with religious diktats than enlightened truths.
For centuries, great liberal thinkers called for freedom of thought and speech because they trusted in two things: in the public’s capacity to decide what is true, and in the robustness of truthful arguments, in the ability of that which is true, or which feels true to us, to survive the rough and shove of public contradiction and even false argument. Today, it is the decline of faith in these two things, in these two fundamental facilitators of truth and enlightenment, that motors the thirst for new forms of censorship, censure and intellectual stigma.
People are no longer trusted to see truth from falsehood; it is no longer believed that, in Milton’s words, the public’s ‘knowledge thrives by exercise’. Rather, the public is viewed as the child-like victim of false claims, of media manipulation, of awesomely powerful advertising, and other forces likely to warp our minds and fill us up with misinformation. Thus we must be protected from the consequences of freedom of speech and be given ‘the truth’.
As one feminist author argues, old liberals’ belief in ‘the ability of people to recognise truth’ was misguided, because there is now a ‘wealth of empirical data from psychology documenting and describing the failures of rational assessment to which people are prone’. Here, strikingly, the new ‘truth’ of empirical data is deployed to the end of denying the capacity of human beings to think rationally and engage fully in public discussion. One of the elite’s new ‘truths’ is that ordinary people have little appetite for or understanding of truth. This is a dogma of disdain for the public’s moral capacity masquerading as a scientific truth that is beyond contestation. And if you challenge the idea that empirical data shows that people are irrational, what will they say about you? That you are ‘post-truth’. That very accusation, of being ‘post-truth’, is now used to chill the very public discussion that makes truth possible.
And they have lost faith in the standing of truth itself, in the ability of truth to win in a ‘grapple with falsehood’. This is because by ‘truth’ they don’t mean the kind of thing that Milton or Mill or other enlightened thinkers were interested in: the profound truth of human understanding, the deep truth of knowledge, the truth of humanity’s unique capacity to know his world, and to change it, too. No, they mean ‘empirical data’, pie charts, narrow, usually very convenient facts, often arrived at through advocacy research designed to discover precisely those facts so that they might be utilised to serve the ends of policing behaviour, re-engineering social attitudes, and other petty political projects. From Milton to Mill, liberals’ conviction that truth would survive and in fact thrive in the public sphere was underpinned by the profundity, the depth, the strength of the truths they were interested in. Today, the low, bureaucratic instinct to protect ‘truth’ from the complete liberty of contradiction is motored by a recognition, at some level, of the hollowness and shallowness of these ‘truths’, of their existence as dogmas for the governance of a critical, sceptical populace rather than as truths for the improvement of humanity’s understanding and conditions.
Everything the new elites say in favour of truth is called into question, shot down in fact, by their instinctive and increasingly institutionalised hostility to the freedom of contradiction and ridicule and blasphemy against their ideals. If you believe something is true, you will be happy to subject it to as much criticism and dissent as possible. As Mill said, the greatest beliefs have ‘no safeguard to rest on but a standing invitation to the whole world to prove them unfounded’. That the new clerisy is unwilling to issue such an invitation, or to permit any strong contradiction of their values and ideas, confirms they have not the remotest interest in truth, and rather are concerned with the maintenance of their dogmatic prejudices over the 21st-century masses.
In such circumstances, heresy must not only be defended; it becomes a duty — the duty of everyone genuinely keen to cultivate a free, enlightened public life in which truth, reason and progress become our guiding principles. We should rail against their dogmas that they falsely describe as truths.
Australia: WHAT’S the most transgressive, the most dangerous thing a teenage girl can do in 2017? Have a baby — and want to take care of it herself
These kids knew enough to be rightly afraid of authoritarian social workers
In an era when teenagers are piercing and inking and Snapchatting and live-camming their naked bodies, there is one young western Sydney girl who chose to go ahead with a pregnancy nearly everyone else in her situation would have terminated.
Jenifer Morrison, 15, gave birth to baby Aria in hospital, and then — apparently motivated by terror of having her baby taken away by authorities — she ran away with her child and the father, an almost shockingly young-looking 14-year-old boy named Jayden Lavender.
Jenifer and Jayden are engaged and wanted to marry before the baby’s birth, but were legally unable to wed because they are both under 16.
Together with their tiny infant, they camped in the bush on a cold autumn night and, when police found them the following day, they said they were heartbroken at the prospect they would not be allowed to take their baby home.
There’s something deeply troubling about all this.
What is really best for baby Aria? To be shuffled between a dozen homes for the next decade? Even in the best-case scenario, to be adopted by strangers and to wonder for the rest of her life what would have happened if she’d been able to grow up with her own mum and dad — is that best? To be denied the chance to be with her mother and father — the two human beings with whom she has an unbreakable biological connection — because they happen to be young?
Aria has two parents who love her and want her. That makes her richer than a lot of children born in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
I have no doubt that the officials who want to take Aria from her parents are motivated by the best intentions, and I’m not for a moment arguing they should have been simply left to look after Aria by themselves.
Jayden and Jenifer are, of course, still legally children. They removed the child from the hospital and took her into the freezing night air, which reflects about the level of commonsense you’d expect from a couple of young teenagers. There is no way they are capable of caring for a tiny baby without some serious adult intervention.
But don’t they get a chance to try?
I think it’s safe to say, without harming anyone’s reputation, that Jenifer and Jayden have not been the beneficiaries of outstanding parenting, given the fact they fell pregnant in the first place.
But someone has to break the cycle of slack parenting. And so why shouldn’t it be a 15-year-old girl and her 14-year-old boyfriend?
I think the desperate motivation to try, indicated by their terribly sad attempt to take Aria from the hospital, should earn Jayden and Jenifer a little credit.
There’s a reason we don’t hear these kinds of stories very often. It’s not because Jayden and Jenifer are particularly wicked or wild. In fact, it’s the opposite. Most young girls who get pregnant have abortions. Their babies get no chance at life whatsoever.
And the children born to dysfunctional or chaotic households — the ones who are taken away — are so often re-victimised by a care system that fails to give them the stability or the protection they deserve.
We let little children down all the time. It looks like more than a few people have let Jayden and Jenifer down. And now, when all they want is to live up to the opportunity they’ve been given in the snuggly pink form of baby Aria, we’re going to let them all down again.
I hope with all my heart Jayden and Jenifer get the chance to learn how beautiful and how hard parenting can be, with the support of people who know what they’re doing.
Surely, if our gleaming safety-net state can achieve anything, we can support these two and their baby to be safe, happy and together.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.