Friday, May 12, 2006

What society teaches

I don't consider myself prudish, but this is simply appalling:
The case of an 11-year-old schoolgirl who became pregnant has prompted calls for better education on sexual health. The girl, now aged 12, is set to break the record for being the UK's youngest mother. She told a national newspaper she is "really excited" about having a child after losing her virginity to a boy aged 15 in Edinburgh.
The girl's 34-year-old mother told the Sun she was proud of her daughter. The mother-to-be, who smokes up to 20 cigarettes a day according to the newspaper, said she hoped the baby would be a boy.
How can people be so naive as to think that this has anything at all to do with sex education? You can educate until you turn blue in the face, and this will still happen, if the mother is proud of her and the state resolves her problems for her. I'm reading a riveting book, Our Culture, What's Left of It by Theodore Dalrymple, which explains how these problems stem from the British intellectual elite. I don't really know what policy options would reverse this trend decisively, although drastically scaling back the British welfare state (which, for instance, puts single mothers at the top of the list to get into council housing) would seem to be a good place to start: people only behave as if there were no consequences, when there are no consequences (for example, when the state will take care of you no matter how dumb your actions are). I truly believe that people in distress need to be helped, but one also has to take into account what incentives we create. The economic incentives are a much more powerful education than any sex-ed class could ever be.

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