June 20, 2008

"They think that a baby can give them love or give them status or fill an empty space in their life..."

17 high school girls make a pact: Each will become pregnant.

Why did they do it? The quote I used in the title is from Carolyn Kirk, the mayor of the town, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Does she really know why the girls did it? She's dishing out the cliché reason why young girls have babies, but how can your life be empty if you have 16 dedicated friends?

ADDED: Of the 17, "nearly half became pregnant after making a pact to do so and raise the children together." We don't know how many may have been in on the pact who did not become pregnant. So I'm speculating about how many friends these girls really had. It could happen that many girls would join such a pact in an effort to win favor from other girls, not because they were really true friends. Eh, for all I know the pact was b.s. made up after the fact.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O. writes:
What is frustrating is that by emphasizing the stock response to this they, the officials and likely the church leaders, miss the really key part: "They think that a baby can give them love or give them status or fill an empty space in their life."

What is the point of having churches around if not responding to these precise feelings? That's what churches should be emphasizing — helping these girls find love, and acceptance, and status and fill the empty space in their lives. If churches aren't doing that then they should really just shut up, their words and their doors, because clearly they've missed the point of their message and existence.

Instead of arguing about contraceptives or debating yet more sex education what about responding to the core issue of their self-value. This story isn't about sex and these girls are certainly responsible for their own decisions, but they're also victims of their elders who have decided policies, whether liberal or conservative, are more interesting than people.

88 comments:

rhhardin said...

Decades ago there was a table of girls at the Burger King, and the one with a baby was the high-status one.

That's why.

Also they get a government check every month.

Ron said...

Maybe it's some elaborate tontine...for the hidden National Treasure! Good plotline here...

Simon said...

Couldn't they just get a Tamagotchi instead?

MadisonMan said...

some of those who impregnated the students were men in their mid-20s.

But let's concentrate on the underage girls and assume they're the ones to blame.

gophermomeh said...

"We work in the dark. We do what we can. We give what we have."
-Henry James

Paddy O. said...

The surge in teenage pregnancy has brought a heated debate over contraception and education in Gloucester, which is heavily Roman Catholic. The school clinic’s medical director and its chief nurse practitioner both resigned in May after the hospital that administers grants for the clinic opposed making contraceptives available to students.

What a curious addition to the point of this article. It's like the writer needed to find a charged political topic in order to go to print.

I'd say if the girls are wanting to get pregnant they likely already are educated about how that works and I suspect know enough about contraceptives to realize those certainly won't help their goal.

What is frustrating is that by emphasizing the stock response to this they, the officials and likely the church leaders, miss the really key part: "They think that a baby can give them love or give them status or fill an empty space in their life."

What is the point of having churches around if not responding to these precise feelings? That's what churches should be emphasizing--helping these girls find love, and acceptance, and status and fill the empty space in their lives. If churches aren't doing that then they should really just shut up, their words and their doors, because clearly they've missed the point of their message and existence.


Instead of arguing about contraceptives or debating yet more sex education what about responding to the core issue of their self-value. This story isn't about sex and these girls are certainly responsible for their own decisions, but they're also victims of their elders who have decided policies, whether liberal or conservative, are more interesting than people.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But let's concentrate on the underage girls and assume they're the ones to blame.

Do the girls have any responsibility whatsoever?

I'll assume that Massachusetts has statutory rape laws. If the 20 something guys aren't prosecuted for it, that still doesn't absolve the teen girls for being idiots.

George said...

The humbl petition of mary Eastick unto his Excellency's S'r W'm Phipps to the honour'd Judge and Bench now Sitting in Judicature in Salem and the Reverend ministers humbly sheweth

That whereas your poor and humble petitioner being condemned to die Doe humbly begg of you to take it into your Judicious and pious considerations that your Poor and humble petitioner knowing my own Innocencye Blised be the Lord for it and seeing plainly the wiles and subtility of my accusers by my Selfe can not but Judge charitably of others that are going the same way of my selfe if the Lord stepps not mightily in i was confined a whole month upon the same account that I am condemned now for and then cleared by the afflicted persons as some of your honours know and in two dayes time I was cryed out upon by them and have been confined and now am condemned to die the Lord above knows my Innocence then and Likewise does now as att the great day will be know to men and Angells -- I Petition to your honours not for my own life for I know I must die and my appointed time is sett but the Lord he knowes it is that if it be possible no more Innocent blood may be shed which undoubtidly cannot be Avoyded In the way and course you goe in I question not but your honours does to the uttmost of your Powers in the discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches and would not be gulty of Innocent blood for the world but by my own Innocency I know you are in this great work if it be his blessed you that no more Innocent blood be shed I would humbly begg of you that your honors would be plesed to examine theis Afflicted Persons strictly and keep them apart some time and Likewise to try some of these confesing wichis I being confident there is severall of them has belyed themselves and others as will appeare if not in this wor[l]d I am sure in the world to come whither I am now agoing and I Question not but youle see and alteration of thes things they my selfe and others having made a League with the Divel we cannot confesse I know and the Lord knowes as will shortly appeare they belye me and so I Question not but they doe others the Lord above who is the Searcher of all hearts knows that as I shall answer att the Tribunall seat that I know not the least thinge of witchcraft therfore I cannot I dare not belye my own soule I beg your honers not to deny this my humble petition from a poor dying Innocent person and I Question not but the Lord will give a blesing to yor endevers

Paddy O. said...

Do the girls have any responsibility whatsoever?

Of course they do. And they will likely feel this responsibility for the rest of their lives. They will find a bit of success in their venture now but then have to deal with the consequences in every other choice their life brings.

But, we sort of assume teenage girls will be idiots. That's why there's a different juvenile court system. The 20 something guys should absolutely not be left off the hook. But 20 something guys are idiots too.

And yet it's the 20 something guys who are the ones showing these girls attention and giving them some sense of company and value. It's wrong and deceptive, of course; these guys want nothing more than a quick thrill and don't value these girls at all as people. But it's still something. And a baby is still something--a living, breathing presence.

Instead of trusting that idiots will find their own way and make good decisions it is the responsibility of their elders, in schools, at home, and at churches to both model right behavior and show these girls where their real value and potential can be found.

There is blame in every direction and yet only the girls are getting the attention--while churches and school leaders debate distracting issues and absolve themselves of any real responsibility of their own.

P. Rich said...

Babies are the new pet.

I'm thinking there's a great entrepreneurial opportunity here. Baby stores. Collect eggs and sperm, create test tube infants, sell them for a moderate price with a clever return guarantee that's impossible to satisfy. No more need for marriage, inconvenient pregnancies become passé, gays and singles welcome, lots of attractively displayed baby products from vertically integrated Chinese manufacturers, big-puppy-dog-eyes music in the background. Hey, that's darn near a business plan. [Financing immediately available from Moveon.org, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.]

Hoosier Daddy said...

There is blame in every direction and yet only the girls are getting the attention

Probably because guys looking to score isn't new whereas some 16 year old girls making a pact among themselves to get knocked up doesn't occur everyday.

--while churches and school leaders debate distracting issues and absolve themselves of any real responsibility of their own.

Last time I checked, moms and dads have a lot more resposibility than a church or school does for raising a kid. The former two are nice supplements but should not be considered a substitute for actual parents.

Paddy O. said...

Last time I checked, moms and dads have a lot more resposibility than a church or school does for raising a kid. The former two are nice supplements but should not be considered a substitute for actual parents.

Ummm... okay. I think that's true, but I wasn't arguing parents didn't have responsibility.

Just because parents do doesn't mean others don't, especially if those others are also getting into it about related topics.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

...but how can your life be empty if you have 16 dedicated friends?..

My dad's answer to me was, 'if all sixteen friends of your jump off a bridge, that doesn't make it right. Show some sense!' or something like that.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

d'oh! 'yours'

Christy said...

Are all of these girls, I wonder, from poor families. Do they have any hope for the future other than minimum wage jobs? Do girls have, in the most ancient part of our brains, any less drive to have children than boys do to spread their seed? Is there any incentive, from their worldview, to postpone having children?

UWS guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UWS guy said...

Facts just in! Fecund Females Fornicate for Fat Fetus!

News flash, girls like babies!

Ohh they're ruining their livessss, mooooaaaaannnn, I'm so sure each of those girls were destined for graduate school anywho....Wait a sec though...I actually know some very happy professional women who got knocked up young.

why can't they wait until they're 40 just like rich white women? ohhh the humanity

gophermomeh said...

Is there any incentive, from their worldview, to postpone having children?

No - from their point of view, it was a rational act.

Cedarford said...

Until the Welfare state arrived, young teens getting pregnant by an equally feckless young man were wisely treated like dirt by their families - and without support by marriage or job prospects or future marriage were wholly dependent on support by a less-than-pleased family who in more cases than not resented the stupid little parasite and child or children they were stuck supporting long afterwards.

The prospect of "ruining your life" kinda served as a miraculous mechanism to keep the legs of baby-hungry young sluts closed. And those that still fucked up were not the "high status gals" in any teen set.

Welfare changed that. With the chilluns and the new Queen Mother on the taxpayer tab, the Queen mother became the envy of her peers as she moved into her own subsidized crib and began getting a pile of state and Federal benefit checks and access into neat programs especially for helping young mothers get stuff for the new apartment, new clothes and free food....

Perverse incentives.

It started in black ghettos after welfare became "the alternate employement" and the more chilluns they had the more money they made. Each little bastard was in effect a jon promotion.

Now it has spread out to other races. 40% of Hispanics now have a baby out of wedlock before age 20, and the Glouchester whites are part of the wave that saw black welfare mammies accepted by society and given high status, so why not jump in and do the same and select some biodaddy or the other, including the handy homeless guy who is always up for a 40oz or a good screw with a HS stranger gal..

And the answer to restoring the long-term health of society and eliminating those cancerous Great Society perverse incentives might just be to change the rules so every other gal sees these unwed mothers and there out-of-wedlock spawn truly suffering. No more welfare. Family foots all bills unless feckless biodaddies chip inm with no welfare available except for basic health care of the child still charged on the taxpayer's tab. If the family sickens of a post age 18 parasite and her spawn - they can boot her out on the street and she and the spawn can live in a homeless shelter with only the most basic, rudimentary amenities.

All while all the young sluts are made well aware of their fate and cautioned "don't end up like her" -
Meaning? broke, homeless, unmarriagable, 3 miserable kids hectoring her for stuff she can't give them, no TV, no boyfriends allowed at the shelter, living in a jogging suit with tattered no-prestige brand sneakers the last 4 months until the latest clothing discard pile comes by.

It sounds ugly, but we do have an out-of-wedlock crisis with attendent high crime, poor school and career performance, and intergenerational poverty and dysfunctionlisms like drugs and prostitution.
And we may have to take brutal, tough love measures to prevent the cancer from spreading further, and reverse its spread - to survive as an American society.

Pogo said...

Hard to tell yet whether the "pact" is actually true. Has an urban legend vibe to it.

If true, so what?
The divorce of behavior from consequences is complete. Young 'women' are sexually active, and we encourage it, or don't disccourage it, offering only advice about condoms and other birth control.

And when they become pregnant, the State pays and takes care of you and your baby. And the left will clamor for more taxes to do so.

So what couold possibly be wrong anymore with young women doing this?
And who is going to say the words "this is wrong" from the left?
No one.

Seven Machos said...

They'll never go to Smith now.

UWS guy said...

Do you drive a taxi cederford? Did you give that speech in a mirror before typing it out here?...i kid....i kid...

Seven Machos said...

Pogo said: Young 'women' are sexually active

Love the quotemarks.

I would wager that a quarter of all American grandmothers had their first child at 18 or before, and over half of great-grandmothers.

What about our sexual desires and our desire to have children has changed in recent generations?

Look, I'm all for waiting until you are 30 and have a graduate degree or a successful business to have kids. However, that's not for everybody. And, as I feel compelled to mention here from time to time, most people will never be more sexually attractive or sexually charged than when they are from roughly 16 to 22 years old. That's just fact.

Paddy O. said...

I would wager that a quarter of all American grandmothers had their first child at 18 or before, and over half of great-grandmothers.

But the great, great majority of these were also married and in committed relationships.

And it seems another distraction to suggest these girls have to wait until they are 40 or have a graduate degree. No one is suggesting that. A person doesn't have to be brilliant or rich or even immensely talented to have value and fulfillment beyond sex and reproduction. In fact, I thought that's exactly what the feminist movement was about.

Only it has gotten so caught up in sexual freedom that it misses the point these girls have absolutely no sense of their value apart from their reproductive capabilities.

And those who are saying these girls really don't have more value than that are reflecting pretty old fashioned assumptions. "Just keep them dumb girls barefoot and pregnant, eh, that's all they're good for anyhow."

There's more to these young girls than baby making factories, and its sad that the apparent politics of related issues will once again leave the core issues of instilling personal, holistic, value behind.

Seven Machos said...

Paddy -- One way or the other, I think there's a lot more to this story underneath what's been reported.

William said...

If you have never been loved and have no one in your life that you love, then motherhood is a way out of that box. You are the most important being in your infant's life and you love that infant selflessly and totally. This kind of love is exhilarating for the sanest women. For a girl who is poor and marginal and feels unloved, that exhilaration is squared. To share that exhilaration with all her friends is exhilaration cubed. To have all this attention, to become a kind of celebrity like Brittney's sister is exhilaration beyond reckoning....I have the feeling that like Columbine this is a weird, random event that will soon be emulated.

D said...

Great highschool to get laid in though, don't you think?

Then again, most of them all these days . . .

Seven Machos said...

If I was homeless, I'd make my way there post-haste.

Pogo said...

That's just fact.

It is.
Also fact is that those people who are unable to avoid drug use, don't finish high school, get married before age 20, don't avoid teen pregnancy or single motherhood, and/or go to jail are the most likely to be in poverty for the rest of their days.

Pogo said...

But they did satisfy their immediate sexual urges, so they've got that going for them.

rcocean said...

Hello? The problem isn't that the girls had sex with guys in their 20s, its that they had sex and deliberately got pregnant. Just as planned.

Would you happier if they were impregnated by 16 year old boys?

And the guys just wanted sex, the girls wanted babies. So who is at fault? The girls.

Seven Machos said...

Pogo -- Given the facts of the story as we know them, it sounds to me like this wasn't empty sex at all.

Also, you are right. If you can just get your kids to finish high school, avoid having a baby until they are 21 or so, and at least mostly avoid drugs, the odds that they will avoid poverty are very, very high.

However, this sociology is really nothing more than good individual advice. Because we both know that there will still be poor people even if everybody does those things.

former law student said...

I wonder how many of these girls swore to their boyfriends that they were taking the pill.

Small town teen girls getting pregnant was not unusual a generation ago -- at least not in Wisconsin. But it usually resulted in a hurried wedding, and a young family supported by one factory job and one retail job. Now that the factories have moved to Mexico and then China, I don't know what the unskilled do for work.

Seven Machos said...

Isn't it fair to say that both people who had sex are to blame here? Come on. This is an easy one.

Seven Machos said...

Small town teen girls getting pregnant was not unusual a generation ago

Yeah, dude. Just small towns. Never happened in the big city.

rcocean said...

"Isn't it fair to say that both people who had sex are to blame here? Come on. This is an easy one."

There's this new invention called Birth Control. Girls use it and don't get pregnant. Amazing huh? And then there's abortion, y'know a girls/womens right to choose. Its cheap and easy in the blue states.

But if you want to play dumb go ahead.

Seven Machos said...

rc -- A lot of people are against birth control and/or abortion. In some instances, they just want to have babies.

Sorry you have a problem with that. Good luck with making people use birth control or have abortions. Our political and cultural tradition generally frowns on that sort of thing.

rcocean said...

SN - You're too smart for me. I have no idea how your post responds to mine. Or the previous ones.

Adios.

Paddy O. said...

I think there's a lot more to this story underneath what's been reported.

Absolutely true. No doubt about it. I think that's at the heart of my frustration. There's probably so much more under the surface and it seems so, well, lazy and biased to bring up teachings on contraception and sex education. That's just putting this story into a pre-made box where everyone has chosen sides and can blame conservatives or liberals depending on who is their particular bogey man.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would wager that a quarter of all American grandmothers had their first child at 18 or before, and over half of great-grandmothers.

"But the great, great majority of these were also married and in committed relationships."

This is the most important part of this story and also what is horribly wrong with our society. Committed relationships. Merely popping out a child today as a lark has very little societal consequences. As Cedarford stated, the welfare state will take care of the unwed mother and child unlike in the "Olden Days" where the burden was placed on the family or the young parent(s). Teenage mothers who were not married or going to get married were ostracized from polite society. They were your basic slut/town pump.

It certainly wasn't unusual for very young people to get married and have that first child rather early. Most pregnancies take 9 months you know, but that first child can come at any time. :-)

My husband's mother was 15 when he was born. They will celebrate 60 years of marriage this year. My mother was 18 and my father 17 when I was born. Not unusual at all. What would have been unusual is to NOT be married or in a serious relationship first.

Personally I think it a big mistake to wait until you are older to have children. Our bodies are hardwired to reproduce at younger ages beginning at puberty. You need all that energy of youth to keep up with having and rearing children. I also think it is unfair to the children you bring into the world to give them parents who are worn out, self absorbed in their own gratification and who will most likely DIE before their children are adults. Do the math. Have a child at age 35 and you are going to be going through menopause while you have a hormonal teen in the house!! Nightmare.

By the way: If you want unconditional love get a puppy. There is no guarantee of that with your children.

The Drill SGT said...

Are all of these girls, I wonder, from poor families. Do they have any hope for the future other than minimum wage jobs? Do girls have, in the most ancient part of our brains, any less drive to have children than boys do to spread their seed? Is there any incentive, from their worldview, to postpone having children

The best future they had, was to become loving wives of good solid blue collar guys, having babies in a 2 parent family supported by parents and grandparents. they might not have had 50 inch plasma TV, but it used to work for a lot of people. But it's not Britney or Paris's or Murphy Brown's lifestyle. What isn't being taught well is that racist white middle classnesstuff, like "future plannin" and "delayed gratification".

what thay got was 9 months of fame and much poorer prospects of husband, home and family for 60 years.

sad

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

I call bullshit on the story. Like any cluster phenomenon, people stretch to find a rational explanation. Teenagers love to bullshit adults about sex and drugs--they quickly figure out what the adults want to hear and say it. In this case, I'll bet it wasn't even that sophisticated; some parent started spouting off and asked if the girls had all planned it. In a very sarcastic voice, the daughter said "Yeah Dad, we did."

(I'll wager that half the girls in question can't even stand the other half and that's being generous.)

* * *

When my oldest daughter was about 17, in a very short period of time several of her friends got pregnant. With one exception, all the pregnancies were due to horny kids not bothering with birth control. (The one exception was a girl whom just about everyone suspects got pregnant on purpose to make her boyfriend marry her.) Most of the other kids are now married to the fathers of their child and have as good as marriages as anyone marriages.

UWS guy said...

Back in my day when a 15 year old girl had carnal relations we spit on her in public and called her a whore.

If she wasn't lucky, we stoned 'em and if it was a negro boy who did the deed we might've strung him to a tree.
That's what any good polite society would do.


If calling america free means anything, people should be free to not be in commited relationships.

Now...don't want your tax dollars to support them? Good point...but to what exactly do you think the money you give in church every sunday is going? Same thing.

Unless your church prefers to spend money on lobbying congress to keep fags from marrying instead of running soup kitchens.

UWS guy said...

The lower class is always held to a higher moral standard than the middle class.

Why, the way the conservative types talk in here, you'd think they'd prefer the girls went and got abortions...

Jeff with one 'f' said...

My Grandmother was married at 16 (during WWII) and gave birth to my Mom at 18- but she was pregnant when she was still 17.

If only she had waited until she was in her 30's and then adopted a kid from China or Guatemala- America would be even more feminist and diverse!

Pogo said...

The lower class is always held to a higher moral standard than the middle class.
That statement has no basis in fact at all.

the way the conservative types talk in here, you'd think they'd prefer the girls went and got abortions
That statement indicates afailure to understand conservatism in any meanigful sense at all.


I would like to hear, however, what a liberal might think about this if it is true and the girls CHOSE to do this.
If true, is it wrong, or right, or none of your business?

Jeff with one 'f' said...

UWS guy said...

"The lower class is always held to a higher moral standard than the middle class."

I call bullshit. Middle class people have to play by the rules and plan everything or risk losing what they have.

The rich can afford nannies and private boarding schools while the poor have little or nothing to lose and quite possibly something to gain from breaking the rules.

If the middle class raise irresponsible children the gains made by previous generations are lost as the kids go into service industry jobs, debt, and a lifetime in the rental class. I've seen it happen many times- and its what SHOULD happen in a meritocracy.

UWS guy said...

Maybe the 17 girls just read a lot of Mark Steyn? Just trying to help the west and all...

bearbee said...

Do people live in a shoe? This is not 1955. There is a ton of info available on sex education. The talk is about sex ed make-overs but WHERE THE HELL ARE THE PARENTS?????!!!!

re: the 20 something impregnators, did they know the twit ambitious moms-to-be were underage?

Somebody needs to do a complete indepth psychiatric evaluation of the girls, their families and their community and social interactions. Also check the drinking water.

This is nuts.

Pogo said...

Maybe the 17 girls just read a lot of Mark Steyn? Just trying to help the west and all...
Is that your answer to my question?

I have always suspected that the left doesn't reaqlly think this kind of behavior is wrong at all. Making light of it is cute, but consistent with my conclusion.

former law student said...

Gloucester is a small town. Also, it does not have a hell of a lot going for it. That is all.

UWS guy said...

I'm libertarian, not so much liberal or conservative. Why is it wrong for those girls to want and to have babies?

If they want babies, bully for them. They'll get a job, or they wont. Tax payers will pass laws helping them, or they wont.

1/2 of all marriages end in divorce, so spare me the lament of not having the girls hitch up with the homeless feller in Vegas or something and have the marriage disolve in 2 years anyway.

Anyone of those 17 girls could die tomorrow from illness, to violence, car wreck, freak accident. One may develop uterian cancer in 4 years and become barren. So anyone telling them what to do with their life better shut up unless they're fortune tellers and can promise those girls 100 years of life and prosperity.

Are they happy? Donno. Will they love their child? Donno. Not my problem.
------

"I have always suspected that the left doesn't reaqlly think this kind of behavior is wrong at all."

--I don't understand that quote. What exactly is wrong? Ok, homeless guy is pretty icky...but honestly, do you know anyone on the 'left'? Anyone at all? Do you hear them say, "Gorsh, I sure hope my daughter fucks a homeless man today!"


The point is, I don't get apoplectic and start rending my clothes when someone who is not me or my family does something I wouldn't, nor council, doing.

Smart, motivated people will do well in life despite setbacks (see: Obama, Barack/Clinton, William Jefferson, Adams, John.....)
Others will live happy or not so happy lives based on their choices.



Mostly what I see here is a bunch of people saying, "think of the material things you could have bought! You're squandering potential earnings!"

Some here seem to pray to the god of materialism and forget the age old goddess of fecundity often has greater sway.

LarsPorsena said...

UWS:

I'm with you. I could care less if they spawn like salmon, but we all are picking up the bill for them and their cretinous offspring and we will keep on paying for generations.
Essentially you are awarding them lifetime government annuities.
This cultivated indifference has ugly consequences.

UWS guy said...

Does the "Welfare Queen" really exist? Mikey Kaus makes compelling arguments for it I think. Others consider it coded racism.

I don't like the word 'cretinous' considering the child has no choice in the matter (also this implies poor children with single mothers are morally decrepit--again the canard that poor people are immoral).

How many of you provide for the well being of your grandparents and/or elderly parents? The middle class decided they wanted the freedom and foisted the responsibilty of elderly care onto the state.

Downside? Young mothers don't have extended families at home to take care of young while she works...So without welfare, you would prefer that the mother work in a factory all day and leave the children in the care of the state?

Your perfectly happy for the state to take care of your parents when they reach the age of not taking care of themselves (because it will cramp your lifestyle to do it yourselves), but god forbid the state take care of young mothers.

Pogo said...

Why is it wrong for those girls to want and to have babies?

Because it does and has affected me and my family. The rise of fatherless boys has gone hand in hand with the rise in prison population.
The rise of single mothers has gone hand in hand with the 'feminization of poverty'.
The increase in welfare, school, and health spending accompanying these 'choices' is also something that affects me directly.

They are directly causing harm to society, that's why it's wrong. Social libertinism is not libertarianism.

UWS guy said...

*you're*

UWS guy said...

No, the rise in prison populations are due to heavier penalties for recreational drugs that minorities use as opposed to middle class additions.

Also, welfare agents use to patrol black neighborhoods, if a man was living in the home they would cut off funding to the mother. This was done to stop people gaming the system, but what it did was encourage black mothers to abandon the fathers of the children.

UWS guy said...

All those lonely men in VA hospitals effects me monetarily also, but I don't call the children who put them there moral cretins.

LarsPorsena said...

"All those lonely men in VA hospitals effects me monetarily also, but I don't call the children who put them there moral cretins."

That's mighty liberal of you.

UWS guy said...

Call me a compassionate conservative.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"I have always suspected that the left doesn't reaqlly think this kind of behavior is wrong at all."

--I don't understand that quote. What exactly is wrong?

This is exactly what is wrong that you don't think it is wrong to purposely get pregnant as some sort of teenage prank: as if they had all decided to get tatooed or have their noses pierced. To think that you will create a child in a loveless hookup relationship for the sole purpose of having "something" that will love you uncondidtionally. To think that it is perfectly OK to cavalierly toy with a living breathing child as an object to keep you from loneliness.

You think it is fine for the government (aka the working taxpayers) should fund this depraved lifestyle wherein the clueless mother creates a baby without a family for her own self satisfaction as part of a 'best friends forever' pact. Purposely having a child when you have no support system, no spouse, no job and are doing it as a lark is OK with you? Dooming a child to an almost certain life of poverty and substandard home life on purpose?

"So without welfare, you would prefer that the mother work in a factory all day and leave the children in the care of the state?"

Without welfare, the support system for people who make stupid choices or who fall on hard times would revert back, as it should be, to the family and friends model. I would prefer that the little sluts keep their knees together, get jobs, get married and then, when they are able to responsibly take care of themselves, produce children if they desire.

"Why is it wrong for those girls to want and to have babies?"

It isn't wrong. It's a natural impulse. However, it IS wrong to give into that impulse without rational thought, preparation, the ability and the responsibility to take care of that child. These girls are treating the most awesome miraculous gift of a living being as if they were getting a kitten or puppy from a pet store. Once you have a child, there is no going back and it isn't a toy or a refundable purchase. It is a lifetime committment and you'd better be ready for that incredible responsibility. These little twits aren't.

That you don't understand this is a sad sad reflection on our crumbling society.

Pogo said...

UWS, your definition of 'libertarian' needs work. As it is, I'd say it was 'liberal', or perhaps 'uncompassionate misanthrope'.

blake said...

they might not have had 50 inch plasma TV

Aw, give it time. 50" TVs (not plasma, probably OLEDs) will be cheap, disposable items in a few years.

Technology creates a kind of wealth.

former law student said...

I would prefer that the little sluts keep their knees together, get jobs, get married and then, when they are able to responsibly take care of themselves, produce children if they desire.

How many kids do you have?

Having kids is not something that can be justified on rational economic grounds. Children are a net drain on the pocketbook, ever since we moved off the farms. Therefore, you have to be slightly nutty to want to reproduce.

Bruce Hayden said...

No, the rise in prison populations are due to heavier penalties for recreational drugs that minorities use as opposed to middle class additions.

Except that there is a far higher correlation between being in prison and not having a father around the house. Sure, the drug users in prison were mostly raised effectively fatherless, but so were the murderers, rapists, armed robbers, etc.

Joe said...

Having kids is not something that can be justified on rational economic grounds.

No shit.

I was so used to having roommates to split my rent and utility bills, I was quite surprised when I got married and saw my bills take a major jump, but that was nothing compared to how much our expenses jumped with the birth of our first child. (And that girl has cost me more money than her three siblings combined.)

Pogo said...

Therefore, you have to be slightly nutty to want to reproduce.

A conclusion drawn by most of Europe and Japan, leading to their repective demographic declines. Hence the likelihood that the EU will be Eurabia, and Japan may actually disappear, or at least no Japanese will be left.

What does it say of a society that it sees no merit in replacing themselves, or worse, calls it "nutty"?

Seven Machos said...

Former Law Student -- I hope that was in jest. I mean, you have credibility, anyway, or any sort of claim on rationality. But saying something like that and meaning it is beyond the pale of basic humanity.

Seven Machos said...

Aren't you folks talking about welfare missing a pretty massive overhaul in the law that occurred in 1996?

blake said...

Wow, UWS is a fountain of...interesting ideas today! Libertarian...or liberal?

Now...don't want your tax dollars to support them? Good point...but to what exactly do you think the money you give in church every sunday is going? Same thing.

a) If I don't give money on Sunday, I'm not sent to jail, nor even Hell.

b) My church is going to demand something from those it helps. This helps the receivers maintain a sense of dignity and see that the goal is to be one who donates rather than one who receives.

c) If my church fails, I don't have to keep giving it money.

Not "the same thing" at all.

Libertarian: 0
Liberal: 1

The lower class is always held to a higher moral standard than the middle class.

Well, I'm no historian so I'll just have to use movie musicals as my basis for rebuttal.

While it's true that Eliza Doolittle was a good girl, it's just as true that her father was a rake who even was a drag on her progress when she was an adult. By comparison the Smith girls (Meet Me In St. Louis) were very particular about manners and not being alone with boys, etc.

No? How about Austen, then, where being alone with a male for any length of time outside of the watchful eye of parents meant a girl had better be married.

While poor people can be honest and moral, they have more incentive not to be and less to lose, which is why we admire those who rise from those circumstances through ethical behavior.

The "noble poor" is really a communist trope.

Libertarian: 0
Liberal: 2

1/2 of all marriages end in divorce,

It's not really known how many of all marriages end in divorce. the 50% was arrived at by someone noting, "Well, there were 1,000 marriages this year and 500 divorces, therefore..." Poor number crunching, there.

What seems to be the case is that some people divorce a lot, but I think the rate is around 1 in 4 for college educated couples.

Are they happy? Donno. Will they love their child? Donno. Not my problem.

Well, yeah, it is if it creates poverty and poverty has negative effects. (If nothing else than increasing welfare spending, it is your problem.)

This isn't a liberal sentiment, but it is the sort of thing that liberals think about libertarians. The liberal sees the state as the best (and often only) solution and so assumes libertarians (and conservatives) don't care.

Libertarians, if they have any sense, do care, they just don't see the state as an answer.

The point is, I don't get apoplectic and start rending my clothes when someone who is not me or my family does something I wouldn't, nor council, doing.

Nobody here has gotten apoplectic. Some people here seem to think we're part of a society, and that things like this undermine said society.

Mostly what I see here is a bunch of people saying, "think of the material things you could have bought! You're squandering potential earnings!"

I'm not sure getting pregnant with no plans to take care of the child you produce speaks to a high spiritual state.

People will often speak in material terms because speaking in spiritual terms ("God wouldn't approve") doesn't seem to resonate any more.

Some here seem to pray to the god of materialism and forget the age old goddess of fecundity often has greater sway.

The god of murdering someone who pisses you off is pretty age-old, too, but we don't tend to be very glib about that.

Civilization is really sorta about sacrificing individual, short-sighted urges for larger goals. Whether physical gratification or pregnancy was the goal, they've flouted civilization's rules.

And the funny thing is that, in this day and age, they'll be rewarded with government checks and also quite likely, through no deliberately constructed mechanic, a lifetime of povery

Does the "Welfare Queen" really exist? Mikey Kaus makes compelling arguments for it I think. Others consider it coded racism.

"Others" meaning socialists subscribing to notions of class and race warfare.

Libertarian: 0
Liberal: 3

again the canard that poor people are immoral

Well, yeah, statistically speaking. As it turns out "morals"--or if you prefer the less charged term "values"--have actual real-world consequences, beyond going to hell after you die.

How many of you provide for the well being of your grandparents and/or elderly parents?

I have.

The middle class decided they wanted the freedom and foisted the responsibilty of elderly care onto the state.

I'm pretty sure the propaganda went that "Oh, no! There are poor old folks with no one to take care of them! The state should do that!"

The state then expanded its role to where it's now assumed that this is the correct behavior.

Certainly that was what I encountered.

And, frankly, I couldn't compete with the state. Just like churches can't compete with welfare.

Downside? Young mothers don't have extended families at home to take care of young while she works...

Wait, what? The state takes care of old people who can't take care of themselves. How on earth are these old folks going to take care of babies?

Besides, these girls are teens. Their mothers are probably in their 30s and 40s and their grandmothers in their 50s and 60s. That's not even old by modern standards.

So without welfare, you would prefer that the mother work in a factory all day and leave the children in the care of the state?

Your credibility as a libertarian is damaged when you can only see "the state" as solutions.

A libertarian would say, "Neither. Let them work it out for themselves what they're going to do." And there are many non-state solutions to these issues.

Libertarian: 0
Liberal: 4

[You're] perfectly happy for the state to take care of your parents when they reach the age of not taking care of themselves (because it will cramp your lifestyle to do it yourselves), but god forbid the state take care of young mothers.

Wait, how did you get to blaming me for this? I'm not happy with the state taking care of my parents (and they don't). The state's pretty much the last resort for people with no money, isn't it?

I didn't vote for it and I'd vote it down in a heartbeat if I ever got a chance to.

Anyway, "tu quoque" isn't a libertarian response.

Libertarian: 0
Liberal: 5

No, the rise in prison populations are due to heavier penalties for recreational drugs that minorities use as opposed to middle class additions.

Class warfare rhetoric, but with an anti-War on Drugs overtone. I'll give you a point in each.

Libertarian: 1
Liberal: 6

Also, welfare agents use to patrol black neighborhoods, if a man was living in the home they would cut off funding to the mother. This was done to stop people gaming the system, but what it did was encourage black mothers to abandon the fathers of the children.

No doubt. But this is historical. Where's the libertarian response?

All those lonely men in VA hospitals effects me monetarily also, but I don't call the children who put them there moral cretins.

I'm tempted to give you another point in "liberal" just because I don't understand the connection.

But I won't, so the score stands at "liberal" (actually "left-wing") with six points, and "libertarian" with one.

Just in case you were wondering why people identify you as a liberal rather than a libertarian, I hope this little guide helps.

blake said...

For some, reproduction is akin to paying it forward.

You can't really pay your parents back. To a degree, sure, by taking care of them in their old age (if they want that), but it's not the same.

The only equivalent is taking care of a child.

Seven Machos said...

How many of you provide for the well being of your grandparents and/or elderly parents?

Missed this one. What kind of sicko doesn't care for grandparents and/or elderly parents (who need it)? I'm pretty sure this one goes across political lines. Only a sociopath would ask such a question.

rhhardin said...

For a girl who is poor and marginal and feels unloved, that exhilaration is squared. To share that exhilaration with all her friends is exhilaration cubed.

You have a severe problem with units here.

Pogo said...

How many of you provide for the well being of your grandparents and/or elderly parents?

FDR was far too successful instilling the idea that the state will care for you in old age.

On what basis do you ask such a question? Do not the young pay their taxes for Medicare and Social Security?

chickenlittle said...

rhhardin said: "You have a severe problem with units here."

What's the problem? How would you convey geometric increase? (He didn't mean arithmetic increase, i.e., "doubled" and "trebeled").

bearing said...

Paddy O's quote about churches is true enough...

...but we don't know whether these young ladies' families were churchgoers or not. There's a lot that a parish can do with outreach, but sooner or later it's limited to people who are willing to show up and say, I want what you are offering. Tell me what I have to do to get it.

Maybe all 17 of these girls come to church every Sunday and nobody there ever gave them what they need. It wouldn't be the first time parishes have fallen down on the job. But we don't know, do we?

former law student said...

Seven and Pogo -- I hesitate to allude to non-economic rationales for doing things here, where there are so many Hayekians (a man who apparently did not reproduce). But certainly kids come with a lot of annoyances. Being willing to put up with that in advance is selfless nuttiness, or nutty selflessness. I should ask David Friedman what his dad's thoughts were on having kids.

Jeremy said...

bearing,
you are right. Paddy almost admits as much when he says "What is frustrating is that ... the officials and likely the church leaders, miss the really key part...." But then procedes to work over the church anyway. Thanks, pal.

Paddy O. said...

Where in the New Testament does it say churches are only about the people who show up?

Jesus was out in the streets. He met the woman at the well. The early church was known for taking in children who had been exposed (left to die outside). Being out there, meeting people, helping those with real needs--emotional and physical and spiritual.

Waiting for people to just show up is part of the problem of so much of the church.

The Great Commission doesn't say wait, it says go.

former law student said...

FDR was far too successful instilling the idea that the state will care for you in old age.

As with universal health care today, the US was the only industrialized country without government-provided old age pensions, Canada having enacted one back in 1927. (Led by Bismarck, Germany instituted its program in 1889.)

The US learned from Canada, however, because their OAP was conditioned on a humiliating means test. (Understanding the virtue of selfishness, the originators of the US program designed it so that all workers contribute, and all workers will receive a pension.) In 1951, the Canadians removed the means test for Canadians over 70.

Joe said...

It should be noted that the reporter who broke this is extremely gullible. I heard her on an NPR interview and she actually fell for the canard from one of the 15/16 year old girls that she didn't know what condoms were for, even though her boyfriend and her had used them a few times.

The rest of the story tells me that there is something going on in that town--with the adults. Amongst other things, they are blowing smoke out their collective asses in an attempt to point the finger elsewhere.

Pogo said...

FLS said The US learned from Canada

Indeed it did. You say that as if this were a good thing.

In the US, social security and government worker pensions are such a massive liability, there is no possible way to pay for it all.

I am not opposed to government encouraging, promoting, or even mandating pensions for old age.

But we have a Ponzi scheme, and the folks that have been through it already made out like bandits. The rest are screwed.

And FDR knew this would happen, just like he knew that the poorest poor during the Depression were NOT the elderly, but the children.

And my saying the gov't was too successful meant that people have been deluded into thinking that the social security was supplemental to monies you were also supposed to be saving on your own. Never was it intended to be the total amount you live on.

I wish we'd take fewer stupid lessons from Canada.
Next? National Health care.
After that? Ban free speech.

Effing liberal fascists.

chickenlittle said...

As seen from outer space:

"Teenaged girls in Mass, doing the job Americans won't do"

Ralph said...

My step-brother's ex wife is from Gloucester. In '89, her mother threatened to boycott their wedding because she was marrying a Protestant. A few years ago, the wife decided to move back to her family's street when he was a few years away from a Navy pension. My step-mother says her whole family is manipulative, demanding, and nuts, but then, so's my step-mother.

amba said...

This strikes me as a case of life imitating art. It's a high-concept novel, by today's equivalent of Rona Jaffe or Joyce Maynard. Or it's a YA novel. No, wait, it's a reality show. These girls have turned their entire lives into a reality show. Do you think becoming famous was part of the deal?

Helen Cadogan said...

This is a wonderful statement of what a church is not about: "That's what churches should be emphasizing — helping these girls find love, and acceptance, and status and fill the empty space in their lives. If churches aren't doing that then they should really just shut up, their words and their doors, because clearly they've missed the point of their message and existence."

Yes, yes. We know that schools have lost track of their mission in their bid to be a one stop life-programming shop, no need for churches to lose their way, too.

The business of the church, if we take the Bible of Christianity at its word, and I do, is essentially alienation for the sake of restoration. The proper teaching of the Christian church is that we are to leave ALL for Christ; yet each and every one of us has our vocation in Christ. Being a daughter, a sister, a brother, a son, a mother, a father, an accountant, a lawyer, a teacher, these are all vocations in which we may actively serve others. Whatever our vocation, it is lived out to the honor and glory of God.

Now, to address the significant points of the cited comment:
The love which the church teaches us is not eros or philos but agape. Through agape, the love of God which is in Christ, which comes to us in baptism. Thus, we are taught that Christ died FOR US. In gratitude for this love on the vertical plane between God and the individual, we can, in a healthy fashion, mirror it on the horizontal plane (in our relations with others) through philos and eros. Since we're talking church here, the proper province of eros is marriage. The love that the church helps us find is a salvific love, and it is up to us to live it out in action towards our fellow man as a complement of a living faith.

Concerning acceptance, that word as used in the quote signifies not the Christian ethos but a worldly one. In a Christian context, acceptance marks our relationship to God on the vertical plane: though we are sinners, in baptism, God accepts us for Christ's sake and on account of His sacrificial death on the cross. If other people reject us for His sake, rejoice, Christ claims us. That's the only acceptance that has value. Moreover, Christianity actually promises alienation, a separation for the sake of Christ. We may lose family, friends, livelihoods, and everything for the sake of Christ. Furthermore, acceptance is really not something that Christians long for simply because to achieve it may require the compromising of faith and vocation. The dictum of Christianity concerning acceptance is this: what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

As for status, borrowed from the lexicons of anthropology and sociology, even that has a different meaning in a Christian context. The status with which Christians are preoccupied is that of the relationship between us and God, and our everyday acts towards our fellow man may be reflective of that. In this life, we are ridden either by God or by the devil. No middle ground. From day to day, our status before God is determined by our living out of the baptism lifestyle, which is a daily cycle of repentance for our sins and thanksgiving for God's salvific will concerning us.

The church, through Word and Sacrament, strengthens and nourishes us to face conflicts in and around us. The empty spaces in us? We sinner-saints have to wrestle with our sinful nature and, in Christ, triumph over the emptiness that often afflicts us. Bible Study, youth groups, volunteerism, and other helping activities are gifts of works that represent faith in action. These things come about because of individual choices; for, the church is not a prison camp with a commandant who compels one to do. It is the individual who, having been baptized, must choose to live a life of active and joyful faith.

The focus of these points is not us navel gazing, but us free to do, out of the love of God, acts of faith for our fellow man. The problem with these kids is that as kids mostly are, they are very much preoccupied with their navel gazing, with themselves, and most likely have not taken the time to ask how their lives can be a reflection of what their church has taught them.

Churches, good churches (not TUCC), are Christocentric rather than anthropocentric—not us, but Christ who died for us. Thus, they encourage our outward gaze, first vertical that we can live out our faith on the horizontal. The churches that so teach us, give us living bread and living water so we can rejoice in the gifts we receive from God and each other. It is a lost church that emphasizes "helping these girls find love, and acceptance, and status and fill the empty space in their lives" in place of the Gospel and sound teachings of the Christian church.

These 17 young ladies do not need coddling or excuses made on their behalf. They need to be brought to repentance. That is the Christian way.

bearing said...

Paddy O: "Jesus was out in the streets. He met the woman at the well. The early church was known for taking in children who had been exposed (left to die outside). Being out there, meeting people, helping those with real needs--emotional and physical and spiritual. ... Waiting for people to just show up is part of the problem of so much of the church. ...The Great Commission doesn't say wait, it says go."

OK, so what would you have the churches do then? Remember, we're talking about minors. Go to teen hangouts and evangelize the kids without their parents' consent? *That's* really going to be popular. No, wait, I've got it, they can go into the public schools and offer help to the kids there! Great idea. Or they could go door to door. That's always well received.

I'm not exactly sure what you want churches to do. For the record, I don't think any of the above are necessarily bad ideas. But it's hard to imagine they would be welcomed uncritically.

Outreach is wonderful, and we could use more. Ultimately, though, the message that churches have is "Come to the feast" -- turn away from what's evil, and turn towards the good. They can't MAKE people come. They can't FORCE people to take what they offer. That choice is internal, and personal, and individual.