carmen dixon is a middle-age mom with a problem. you see, her 14 year-old daughter lacey's life is basically one big audition for jerry springer. frustrated with her inability to keep tabs on the troublesome teen, dixon resorted to eavesdropping on her daughter's phone conversations with her 17 year old boyfriend oliver christensen.
on one such occasion, she heard christensen confess to tackling an elderly woman and snatching her purse. she prudently called the cops and turned him in, and christensen was convicted of second-degree robbery as a result of dixon's testimony.
until christensen's defense appealed on grounds of the boy's constitutional right to privacy being violated (along with a supporting brief from the ACLU, of course.) carmen dixon had no right to spy on her daughter's phone conversation, ergo, her testimony should be disallowed. and would you believe the washington state supreme court bought it?
they have ordered christensen to be tried again, sans dixon testimony.
let's review. you, dear citizen, are the mother and legal guardian of a minor. said minor lives in your home eating the food you provide and wearing the clothes you paid for. when she talks on the phone (which is always if she's anything like every other 14 year old american girl) she's talking on your dime. you own, pay for, or have legal custody of absolutely everything involved in the situation, and yet you have no right to know what's being said by your own daughter on your own phone.
just to be perfectly clear, i have very little sympathy for carmen dixon per se. in an ideal world, incompetent parents like her would be imprisoned for raising 14 year olds who run with 17 year old petty thugs. motherhood is the single most important social institution, and to say that dixon has been negligent is putting it kindly. her, and parents like her, fail us all by unleashing their brutal little hooligans and future welfare sponges on an otherwise decent country. if you think i'm being too hard on dear carmen, don't. turns out she's facing a ten year stint on an unrelated matter of embezzling over 100 grand from the postal service--a crime to which she's already plead guilty. it seems lacey and potential in-law oliver are just taking their rightful place in the family business.
but i do have a great deal of sympathy for parents in general. and i'm more than a little pissed. "I don't think the state should be in the position of encouraging parents to act surreptitiously and eavesdrop on their children," said some schmuck from the ACLU. and in ACLU land (which would be just like stalinist russia but with extra purgings) i suppose that the state does indeed have more of an interest in protecting the so-called right to privacy of a 14 year old minor who obviously doesn't have the sense God gave a retarded horse on crack than they do in protecting the basic building block of civilization itself: the family--specifically the ability of parents to instruct and protect their children.
as far as i'm concerned, children have no right to privacy. privacy presupposes the ability to conduct one's self in a responsible (or at least not directly harmful) manner. the assumption of privacy is that the free american people are basically alright and hence what they do in their own free time is their own business. i think that's more or less true in the case of adults, but kids? most 14 year old kids can't handle privacy any more than a stone junkie could handle could handle a trip to amsterdam. it's the parents right--no, obligation--to give them only as much as they've shown they can be trusted with, and in the case of lacey, that's not a whole helluva lot.
it goes without saying, of course, that no one in this whole awful mess gives a steaming dog turd for the well-being of an elderly woman whose purse was snatched.
"sorry granny, we'd like to give you some justice, but the ACLU says that the right of privacy for a 17 year old delinquent trumps your right not to be physically assaulted and robbed."
someday locdog will be king and then you'll all pay
not all it's cracked up to be
last year, a coworker of mine moved to germany to carry on her post-doctoral research. she returned for the holidays with armloads of photographs, chocolate, and stories (but unfortunately no beer) and popped in at the office for a quick hello.
as we chatted over the pictures and german living in general, i asked her how things were going economically. she gave me a don't ask look and then said "terrible."
i decided to play devil's advocate and draw her out a bit further. "but i've always heard they have a great economy in germany."
now my friend is as reliably liberal as they come. it was therefore no small surprise when she said "well, they've gotten pretty spoiled over there. and lazy. they only work a 35 hour week, which i'm all about, but the problem is that they can't pay for what they have. they've got a really posh retirement system over there and they don't have enough workers to fund it any more."
"sounds familiar," i replied.
"yeah. and that's not the half of it. women are given two years paid maternity. they're guaranteed their jobs back when they return. they can also take off six weeks before the pregnancy..."
she continued for a couple of minutes, rattling of a list of typical european-style socialist programs and concluding that the net result was an outrageous tax burden and a stagnant economy.
"since i've gone over there, i'm really starting to see how stuff works. i'm beginning to change my mind about some things."
locdog just smiled
a heartening National Center for Health and Statistics study revealed friday that teens are less sexually active. according to the NCHS, the rates among boys and girls ages 15-17 have fallen from 43 to 31 and 38 to 30, respectively, from 1995 to 2002. great news for kids, great news for america, bad news for liberals.
it's more or less an article of religious faith among the glorified marxist reconstructionists parading as liberals these days that Kids are Going to Have Sex. a pretense of scholarship usually swaddles the claim, but what really seals the deal is the air of futility they nurture:
look, mom and dad. look at the clothes they wear. the music they listen to. the movies and tv they watch. the friends they hang out with. you can't compete with that. why try? just get them to use condoms and you've done your duty.
and, sad to say, some lazy parents have bought into this line of thinking. raising abstinent kids is hard work. it takes involvment and a huge investment of time and emotion. a condom, however, takes a five minute trip to the drug store. one parental advice column i read not long ago seemed to offer solace by maintaining that parents who encourage abstinence are actually making pre-marital sex more likely by adding the sheen of the forbidden to an already alluring fruit.
but one thing you'll seldom seldom see them offering is hard evidence. ask your average self-described liberal what he's looking for in a sex-education program and he'll tell you 99% birth control and 1% abstinence--if that. ask him why and he'll say that you can't stop them from doing it. ask him how he knows and he'll give you a look like you just asked him how he knows the sky is blue, and tell you that kids were having sex when he was young and it doesn't look like it's going to go out of style anytime soon.
if you think the left is intellectually lazy, you're right, but that's not what's happening here. it's not that there are mountains of data out there waiting to support the futility argument, quite the contrary. recent studies have shown that parents have a huge role in shaping the sexual attitudes (and consequently practices) of their children, but the futility argument was never anything more than a red herring anyway. sex education types don't want abstinent kids.
why not? given that abstinence is the only guarantee against STDs and teen pregnancy, and given that seventy percent of teens have already opted for it, shouldn't it constitute the bulk of our efforts? shouldn't we be convincing the holdouts of the error of their ways rather than sending that signal to the correct majority (of kids and parents alike)?
those are some tough nuts to crack--until, that is, one realizes that sex education has next to nothing to do with health. to the cultural marxist hardliners responsible for most of the last thirty years' worth of sex ed, teenage sexuality is simply too valuable to give up. traditional american sexual mores represent a huge roadblock on the highway to leftist utopia that they've attempted to build through our public schools. parental influence in general, which is almost always more favorable to the right, must be overcome, and sex is a great way to do it.
think of it this way: abstinence is useless to the left since abstinent teens are basically operating under a system of accountability, but birth control offers both the opportunity to circumvent parental rules and the disastrous consequences such transgressions would ordinarily bring--except it doesn't as teen pregnancy and STD trends over the past few decades will readily attest. but hey, isn't that all the more reason for increased condom classes? in this way, the most powerful biological urges can be harnessed at their peak and used to leverage teens further into the statist camp, either in the direct sense of depending on the government for the basic necessities of life once they're pregnant and illiterate, or in the indirect but more devastating sense of convincing them that the state is the source of all social convention. a victim in the former camp can at worst harm themselves and their offspring, but one from the latter could go on to spread his beliefs, perhaps one day teach himself and rear up thousands of intellectual offspring.
but we needn't be so conspiratorial. most so-called liberals hate traditional american values and would want to see kids doing it if for no other reason than to spit in the faces of our puritan fathers. what's more, "liberalism" today has come to represent the total renunciation of newton's third law, a disassociation between action and consequence where everyone is the victim of everyone else, nothing is anyone's fault, and the buck always stops with some new government program. in other words, there may be sound, strategic reasons for leftist intellectuals to buck against abstinence, but there's more than enough philosophical undercurrent to sweep along the well-meaning rank and file.
the good news is that they're losing. parents do have a voice, and teens are listening. teen sexuality is down, there are corresponding declines in STD and pregnancy rates among the same group, and, in spite of all, the kids are going to be alright.
like most non-parents, locdog is a boundless source of parental wisdom