It’s okay to be judgmental — as long as you’re making the right judgments

Facebook intifadah“You’re so judgmental, Mom,” my teen told me yesterday.  The reason for this statement (and he totally missed the irony of his judging me for being too judgmental) was the distaste I expressed for Mark Zuckerberg.

I didn’t defend myself against my teen’s charge.

“You’re damn right I’m judgmental.  Zuckerberg deserves to be judged.”

When my teen expressed incredulity at my claim, I elaborated.  I told him that groups such as Hamas frequently use Facebook to disseminate incitement to kill Jews.  They put up cartoons, videos, instructional posters, and just about anything else that tells Hamas’ Facebook friends to slaughter Jews on Israel’s streets.

That’s bad.

What’s worse is that Facebook isn’t doing anything to stop this outpouring of genocidal antisemitic incitement.  It’s gotten so bad that thousands of Israelis have joined Shurat HaDin – The Israel Law Center in a lawsuit against Facebook demanding that it remove this material:

Shurat HaDin wants to force Facebook to not only remove the terrorists’ pages, but also to better monitor and block users who post videos glorifying and encouraging terrorist attacks, and publish messages with instructions on how to carry out an attack.

“The terrorists do not come on their own; they write posts and encourage their friends to kill Jews,” Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin, told Fox News. “Facebook has been transformed into an anti-Semitic incubator for murder.”


The lawsuit says that since Facebook uses algorithms that match users with personalized ads and connect them to potential “friends,” the company should have the ability to monitor and block such postings.

Facebook’s defense is that it can’t possibly do what is asked of it because there’s just too much going on.  Cry me a river. . . .

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Don’t blithely believe the study that allegedly “proves” that religious kids are not nice people

children sharingProgressives are tremendously excited about a study that purports to show that kids raised religiously are less nice than atheist children:

According to a new study published in the journal Current Biology, children that come from non-religious households behave significantly more altruistically than those from religious households, as measured by greater acts of generosity towards others.


Over 1,100 children, aged 5 to 12, from the United States, China, Canada, Jordan, Turkey, and South Africa were chosen to participate in the study. Most of the children came from Christian, Muslim, or non-religious households. To test whether children raised on religion would behave more morally than non-religious children, they were asked to play what’s called a “dictator game.” In this game, children were shown 30 stickers and told that they could pick their favorite 10 to keep for themselves. The children were then each told that the experimenter didn’t have enough time to play this game with everyone, so some of the children at their school wouldn’t get any stickers. What the results showed was that children from Christian and Muslim households were both significantly less generous than children from non-religious households when it came to sharing their stickers with anonymous peers.

The findings not only show that religious kids aren’t more altruistic than non-religious kids; it suggests that not being religious may actually increase moral behavior. To most this would seem counterintuitive. The authors of the study have an explanation that involves an interesting phenomenon called moral licensing. The term refers to a sort of mental glitch—whereby doing something that enhances one’s positive self-image makes them less worried about the consequences of immoral behavior. For instance, research has shown that men who report being very opposed to sexism later go on to hire men for what would traditionally be considered a man’s job. They do this because they feel that since they are not sexist—at least, in their own minds—a decision to choose a male over a female can’t be immoral.


The study also showed that children from religious households were more willing to give harsher punishments to people who committed acts that harmed others, like pushing or bumping into another. Although this could be interpreted as showing that religious children are more concerned with justice, it may also demonstrate that non-religious children are more tolerant of others’ behavior, and more willing to forgive.

Please, please let me count the ways in which I part ways with what I perceive as a ridiculous excuse for science.

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Public schools — un-educating Americans, one student at a time

School suppliesI was livid this morning. One of my children asked me to quiz her about rhetorical fallacies, which she was studying for a test. The teacher had put the examples together himself and they included such gems as saying it’s a logical fallacy to argue that guns are tools in the same way hammers are tools. Another example was that it’s a logical fallacy to argue against gay marriage. To give students an insight into good arguments against logical fallacies, he directed the students to Jon Stewart’s hyper-partisan The Daily Show. Indoctrination much?

When I complained to my resident Leftist, all I got was bewilderment. Guns are evil, gay marriage should be accepted by all, and Jon Stewart was the smartest, most informative man in television — so why am I fussing? The fact that all of those represent partisan views and the principle that they therefore should not be introduced on the taxpayers’ dime completely eluded him. School, after all, is there to teach students how to “think.”

School indoctrination is a sore subject with me, since it’s endemic in Marin, as it is in any school district that has a teacher’s union. Math is tainted both by Common Core and the fuzzy math approach that’s meant to give a pass to women and minorities who apparently struggle with actual math (you know, the kind where the results are correct).

As someone who’s bad at math (Common Core’s crazy complications are familiar to me because that’s the way they were teaching back in the San Francisco public schools’ 1960s/1970s experimental phase), I recognize the advantage of being able to reach roughly correct answers for such inconsequential things as calculating tips, measuring something that doesn’t need precise dimensions, or keeping vague track of a family budget. I also recognize what a weak reed this fuzzy math is. When the situation demands precision, I struggle.

English as taught in America’s public schools is a joke. I’ve already shared here my fury at the way an English teacher in Sandy Hook’s wake, handed out to the students strong gun-control articles. I politely protested (because my child, after all, was a hostage to grades in his class, but got nowhere). While the students get Leftist politics and lots of sex in their English classrooms, the students emerge without fundamentals such as grammar, spelling, structure, and narrative. Eileen Toplansky describes in heartbreaking detail trying to teach under-educated American youngsters  when they reach college.

As the recently AP U.S. History fight showed, history is taught through a purely Marxist, anti-American lens. The books subtly and not-so-subtly tell those pliant young minds that America is the root of all evil and that the purifying answer to our nation’s wrongs is top down collectivism.

It doesn’t seem to occur to these geniuses that the things about which they complain — whether slavery, Indian relocations, Jim Crow laws, etc. — were only able to happen because of government power. The corollary is that diffusing government power dilutes a nation’s ability to do things that bug Leftists.

Typically, each Leftist cadre assumes that, when it acquires unlimited power, it will get it right. That’s why Bernie, who shrilly screams for a government that uses its guns to confiscate individual wealth, is looked upon as some type of savior, rather than the power-hungry, crazed madman he really is.

Lastly, there’s the wreckage of science in America’s public schools. The kids still get taught useful basic stuff, such as chemistry and biology, but the higher up they go, the more tainted it gets.

I have in front of me the textbook used in our local school’s AP Environmental Science class. Published by Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, G. Tyler Miller’s and Scott E.Spoolman’s 14th edition of Environmental Science purports to be a comprehensive textbook, teaching children everything they need to know about the natural world that surrounds us.

In the introduction to teachers (p. xiii), we learn that the book is all about “sustainability — the integrating theme of this book.” This theme leads to the boast that, in the new edition,

Climate change is emphasized with new coverage on the warming of the world’s lakes, climate change tipping points, and innovative [and, no doubt, prohibitively expensive] efforts to reduce methane and soot emissions.

I’m all for sustainability. Speculations about Mars’ potential habitability notwithstanding, we only have one planet that’s a sure thing for human survival, and it behooves us to treat it well. Treating it well, however, does not mean either falsifying science or destroying human kind. The environmentalists’ shtick to the contrary, we are a part of the planet’s diverse life forms, rather than an alien being that must be destroyed.

What got my knickers in a twist about the book was the random happenstance that, as I was moving it off the kitchen table, I dropped it and it opened to this page, which introduces the chapter on “Sustaining Biodiversity : The Species Approach”:

Brooks Cole Environmental Science

[Click on image for full size page.]

You know you’re in for it whenever you see anything about polar bears and climate change.  The entire page is a sustained sob about the poor declining Arctic polar bears.

Those pathetic bears, trapped forever on teeny little ice floes that carry them out to sea, where they die a bitter, lonely death.  Indeed, according to the book:

Scientific measurements reveal that the earth’s atmosphere is getting warmer and that this warming is occurring twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world.  Thus, the arctic ice is melting faster and the average annual area of floating sea ice in the Arctic during the summer is decreasing.  The floating winter ice is also breaking up earlier each year, shortening the polar bears’ hunting season.  And much of the remaining ice is getting too thin to support the weight of a polar bear.

That’s so affecting.  The only problem is that, unsurprisingly given the continuously dynamic nature of planet earth, none of that is true:

After the shortest melt season on record, and the most rapid growth on record, Arctic sea ice extent is the largest in a decade.

Arctic sea ice

Ocean and Ice Services | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

Arctic sea ice 2

Not only is extent increasing, but Arctic sea ice thickness has also increased by 40% over the last five years.

Arctic sea ice 3

Bpiomas_plot_daily_heff.2sst.png (2488×1960)

Steve Goddard, who wrote the above post and generally provides invaluable actual climate facts at Real Science, concluded by saying “None of this will be reported by the criminals at US government agencies or in the press.”  I’ll add that none of this will appear in school books either, which are completely invested in the pathetic polar bear scenario.

Goddard also caught the fact that the climate changistas have had to scale down their dire predictions about the declining polar bear population.  The textbook indoctrinating. . . . er, “teaching” our children insists that

According to a 2006 study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world’s total polar bear population is likely to decline by 30-35% by 2050.  By the end of this century, polar bears might be found only in zoos.

I’m dubious about anything the purports to predict with exactitude what will be going on in the natural world in 35 years, let alone 85 years.  Right off the bat, that confidence about a future that will be affected by data we can’t even begin to imagine suggests a con.  And indeed, with the con collapsing, these vague “scientist” collectives have abandoned the line that those polar bears on itty-bitty icebergs are dying now and, instead, are saying, “It’s still going to happen, we promise, but not for another ten years.”

Polar Bear Science is a useful site that looks at actual, you know, facts and data, rather than loosey-goosey futurist predictions. For example, the Western Hudson bears, one of the more studied bears, have shown population stability for eleven years now, no doubt explaining the new claim “scientific” announcement, above, that climate change won’t affect them for another decade. Indeed, if you scroll through the Polar Bear Science site, which relies solely on field study data, you come away comforted to know that the polar bears are doing fine, thank you very much.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”), which authored the 2006 study that the book cites with such elan, probably isn’t the best source for information in any event.  You see, it’s guessing:

The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group admits its global population estimate is simply a qualified guess with a large potential error.  So perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that for the purpose of comparing polar bears to other species of concern, the upper limit for polar bear numbers worldwide could be more than 30,000?

In subsequent updates to the above post, it appears that the polar bear population is a stable 26,000 or more and holding steady.  (For more facts, not guesses, about polar bear population trends, check out these links.)

And here’s one other interesting thing about the IUCN: It’s an old organization, formed shortly after the UN, and seems to have the UN’s same impulse toward’s tyrannical insanity.  Wikipedia isn’t always the best source for this information, but it offers an interesting criticism about the IUCN:

It has been claimed that IUCN put the needs of nature above those of humans, disregarding economic considerations and the interests of indigenous peoples and other traditional users of the land. Until the 1980s IUCN favored the “Yellowstone Model’ of conservation which called for the removal of humans from protected areas. The expulsion of the Maasai people from Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is perhaps the best known example of this approach.

But back to that textbook, which is preaching to the best and brightest kids throughout America’s high schools.  It shares IUCN’s anti-human slant:

Many biologists consider the rapid loss of the earth’s vital biodiversity — largely resulting from human activities — to be one of the most serious and long-lasting environmental problem [sic] that the world faces.

Children!  You’re murderers!  Every last one of you.  And just ignore the fact that this publishing company is responsible for printing up gazillions of copies of this 500-or-so page book, with its nice laminated covers, and shiny ink-coated pages.  The problems of the world are due to you, not to us.  We’re just trying to profit off of the destruction you wreak.

When it comes to socialism, Lefties are just like little children.  You can tell them forever that freebies are never free, and can come with a dangerously high price (whether it’s a child being kidnapped and killed by a predator offering “free” candy or puppies, or a nation having its economy and individual liberties by socialists offering “free” benefits). No matter the proof about freebies carrying risks, and no matter how often you dun that information into their heads, Lefties are no more capable of resisting temptation than is a five-year-old child.

If anything, Lefties regress even further mentally when it comes to climate science.  Have you ever played peek-a-boo with a baby.  It’s so cute.  You cover your face, and the baby thinks you’re gone.  And when the baby covers his own face, everything vanishes.  What a fun game.  Now you see it, now you don’t.  And when you don’t see, not only doesn’t it exist, it never existed.  It’s baby magic!!!

Scientists have been monitoring the environment somewhat closely for the past, say, 50 or 60 years.  Because of the Victorian passion for record keeping, we’re able to access some data going back as far as 150 years.  Hard science, such as core samples or clues (fossils, bones, etc.) found in sediment, rounds out that data.  And that’s what we’ve got.  But anthropocentric scientists are convinced that all the knowledge they’ve acquired now — and some of it’s pretty darn patchy — constitutes the sum total of all human knowledge, from which everything can be extrapolated.  The fact is, species have been going extinct forever — since earth was first formed.

Examining earth trends starting with the dinosaurs, we can readily identify things that cause local or mass die-outs.  Sometimes the earth’s climate changes.  Sometimes an earthquake, volcano, or catastrophic flood rejiggers the landscape in a certain region.  Sometimes a meteor wipes out life.  Sometimes the meeting between two species results in one getting destroyed.  Humans definitely did in the dodo and the mammoth.

As an aside, it’s likely that the Lefties’ beloved Native Americans, who are invariably presented to children as hippie types who would never dream of committing violence against the earth, had they populated North America in greater numbers probably would have destroyed the buffalo.  After all, one of the Comanches’ hunting techniques was to drive a whole herd off a cliff.  The Comanches would then take what they could carry (not much), and leave the rest of the herd to die slowly and painfully, and then to rot in mangled heaps at the bottom of the cliff.  The Aztecs almost certainly turned to human sacrifice because they’d destroyed all animal food sources — i.e., protein and iron sources — in their region.

But here’s the deal:  Because modern scientists, baby-like, uncovered their eyes to view Western interactions with nature only a few decades ago, they’re pretty clear that none of the previous occurrences existed or mattered.  Like a baby revealing the world to itself, today’s scientists consider only what they see before them when they see it.  Everything else is pushed aside and ignored.

I remember many years ago spending a vacation day in Cartagena, Columbia.  It was one of the most depressing places I’ve ever seen.  The encroaching jungle bore down hard on that city, and the city seemed inclined to give up the fight.  It was obvious that, if the city stopped for even a while to keep the jungle at bay, the city would vanish.  Nature is powerful.  Nature is merciless.  Nature is adaptable.  Nature, by its nature, is change.

Modern science’s fear of change and rejection of Nature’s powerful adaptability means that the scientists are driven to irrational, rather than rational, analysis.  Worse, once locked in the grip of this irrationality, our modern ideological science is driven to two dangerous paths:  ignoring the data and indoctrinating the young.

Medicine taught us that scientific rigidity is terribly dangerous.  Just look at germ theory, which scientists at first couldn’t recognize, but then wouldn’t recognize.  Even when knowledge was available, ideologically driven men of “science” continued to kill patients.  But maybe that’s what the scientists want in the end:  a lot of children who have been trained to a suicidal mindset they’re told is absolutely necessary to save a natural order that needs their stewardship, rather than their disappearance.

Freddie Gray: Do two Washington Post reports connect the dots about what really happened to him? *UPDATED*

Lead Poisoning

[UPDATE:  Freddie Gray’s death has been ruled a homicide.  I don’t think it changes the questions I ask below or the information I offer.  It simply means that, whether Gray’s death was purely accidental or the result of self-inflicted behavior, gross negligence, or homicide, he might have been more vulnerable than the next guy.]

Reading the news, it occurred to me that there’s a distinct possibility that it wasn’t police brutality that felled the very pathetic Freddie Gray.  It may have been Freddie’s own brutality against himself, coupled with the effects of an appalling start in life, that led to his dying from a broken spine.

My theory starts with a headline in the Washington Post: “Freddie Gray’s life a study in the sad effects of lead paint on poor blacks.” The report paints a tragic story of African-Americans living in ancient, run-down houses with floors that are routinely covered in lead-filled paint chips. Anyone who has had small children knows that, if there are paint chips on the floor, any baby or toddler will eat them. Even if there aren’t chips but are, instead, small particles, it’s self-evident that the children will eventually ingest some.

It’s therefore no surprise to learn that Gray was riddled with lead, something that came to light when his family filed suit for lead poisoning:

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The Bookworm Beat 4-7-15 — the time “thief edition” and open thread

Woman writingOy! Even my interruptions keep being interrupted today. Still, I managed to gather together a few very interesting things:

Heading into a another cooling period

Even as the Left gets increasingly hysterical about “climate change,” which has become an all-purpose excuse for everything from drought, to deluge, to prostitution, actual data reveals that, to the extent the climate is changing, it’s getting colder. This is really bad because, as the California drought is reminding everyone, the one thing we can’t do without is water.

During warming periods, water trapped in ice is released, making the world a wetter and therefore more bountiful place. During cold cycles, though, there’s less available water, which severely cramps human access to arable land. Just think of Greenland, which was actually fruitful during the warming Middle Ages. Today, “Greenland” is a serious misnomer:

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We’ve raised the “sheeple generation,” because today’s kids wouldn’t dream of questioning authority

SheepleI was a little girl when the phrase “Question Authority” became the mantra for teens and young adults. To give that generation credit, even as they stopped bathing and warped their brains with drugs, they really did make an effort to challenge the shibboleths that the academic establishment and the media sent their way. Unfortunately, all of their ultimate conclusions were absolutely wrong, but at least they tried.

These wrong conclusions have now become the academic, political, and media shibboleths of the 21st century. War is bad; the current “science” emanating from the liberal establishment cannot be questioned; Israel is an evil, apartheid state; whites created a corrupt America so that they and their misbegotten creation must be destroyed; illegal immigrants are all victims of white hegemony and need to be welcomed with open arms; Muslim terrorists are merely disappointed job seekers; etc.

What’s terribly sad about the current generation of teens and young adults is that they wouldn’t dream of questioning these authoritative pronouncements — and this is true despite the fact that they are the first generation to have at their fingertips a powerful tool that gives them all the information they need to ask questions and, perhaps, come up with different answers.

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Raising your children to be good people

helping old lady cross the streetMy parents raised me to be academically successful.  They came from a European milieu that valued intellectual elitism above all other things.  That was my value too, and one I applied to the people with whom I chose to surround myself.

As the years went by, though, I realized that intellectual elites often aren’t very nice people or even very smart people.  All too often, they armor themselves with degrees and disdain.  Some are nice, some aren’t, just like all other people.  When it comes to the ones who aren’t nice, though, what’s so interesting about the intellectual elite is how easily they rationalize away their meanness.  Their knowledge doesn’t lead to morality, it leads to a moral narcissism that sees them as the ultimate arbiters of what’s “good.

Having concluded that my parents’ European elitist values didn’t lead me to the people and places that would have worked best for my life, I’ve tried extremely hard to raise my children to be “nice.”  To me, that word contains within it such  notions as kind, honest, moral, helpful, and loyal.  You don’t have to be the top student or the best athlete, but you’d better not be the kid picking on the unattractive girl or the dorky boy. And when someone asks for help, you give it.

For the children’s entire lives, I’ve operated on the principle that, when it comes to them, I have to “catch them being good” — and that means catching them when they’ve been kind to another person or done the right thing.  I never let such incidents go without saying.

In other words, I agree with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin:

But here’s something depressing: It didn’t work. For their entire lives, I’ve been doing the right things — modeling good behavior (sometimes with great effort, since I’m not an innately nice person) and catching my children (and their friends) when they were behaving well — but it didn’t work. The hardest thing about the last several weeks hasn’t been the inconvenience of crutches, it’s been the fact that my children have been completely unwilling to step up and help out. I have been beyond disappointed. Despite all my efforts, I was unable to counter other influences in their lives, influences that revolve around grades, money, and self-fulfillment through selfishness.

My only hope now is that, once they’re on their own and life has its way with them, my children will discover the same life lesson that I learned: that at the end of the day, the behaviors that you will value most in yourself and in others are the ones that are rooted, not in money or prestige or transitory pleasures, but in innate decency and goodness.

On raising boys *UPDATED*

Boys playing cops and robbersOn my Facebook page today, two of my friends put up links with advice for parents raising sons.  One link came from an ultra liberal friend and the other link came from a solidly conservative friend.  There is a vast chasm between the two sites when it comes the types of men each post is trying to create.  I therefore thought it would be interesting to offer the two sets of advice side by side.  Please note that I’ve only included the headings.  You should visit both sites to see the specifics behind each heading.  (My comments, which I hope clarify the more cryptic headlines, are in parentheses.)

First, from “Raising Boys,” a subset of “The Good Men Project”, comes a post entitled Seven Memes That Will Change The Way You Think About Raising Boys:

1. We Need To Teach Boys That Being “A Girl” Is Not An Insult.
2. All Boys Are “All Boy” (e.g., it’s not just rambunctious, athletic boys who are “all boy”).
3. But They Should Not Get Away With Bad Behavior Just Because They Are Boys.
4. We Believe In Men, Their Maturity And Compassion
5. Teach Your Son to Respect Women
6. We Need to Showcase More Multi-Dimensional Boys and Men in the Media (e.g., not just vampires)
7. And One Day Soon, We Will Be Using the Expression “Boys Will Be Boys” To Describe This: (followed by a picture of a trio of boys sitting quietly on the floor pretending to give bottles of milk to dolls)

Second, from “Belief Net,” comes a post entitled Ten Things Every Dad Should Tell His Son:

1. Do Courageous Things
2. Work Harder Than Anyone Else
3. Hang with the Wise
4. Stay Away From Porn
5. Reflect True American Character (i.e, fulfill the Founder’s vision)
6. Assume a Gift Is Hidden (i.e., you have to work to get the good things out of life)
7. Remember that Everything Counts (i.e., don’t live your life making careless choices because you assume something isn’t important)
8. Know that Marriage is a Covenant
9. After You Screw Up, Step Up
10. Focus on Stewardship

I’ve often said that the Left wants to feminize boys, while conservatives should have as their goal taking boy’s behaviors (their energy, their loyalty, their drive to leadership) and channeling them into virtuous values and conduct. These two lists seem to exemplify those different ways of thinking about transitioning boys to men.

This is not to say that I reflexively disagree with the first list. Indeed, I strongly believe in several of the items on that list. It’s just that the list’s purpose doesn’t seem to have as its primary purpose taking ordinary, generic boys and turning them into ordinary, generic, and good men. Instead, its primary purpose seems to be to validate those boys who don’t have an excess of what I call “boy energy” (and I live surrounded by lots of very boy energy) and to insinuate that the best boys are the ones who, rather than channeling their boy energy to a more noble way of being, simply sublimate it altogether.

I probably would endorse the first list if it were merged into the second.  If one successfully raised a boy with all of those principles, what would emerge would be a fully-rounded man perfect for romance novels:  tough, but sensitive….  Back in the real world, however, which is where I live, if I were parenting a completely generic boy (which I actually am) and could pick only one list to use to raise my child, I’d pick the BeliefNet list.  I like that list because it recognizes the reality of boys, rather than trying to force boys to conform to a theory.

I’d also pick the BeliefNet list because the good parts of the “Raising Boys” list can be incorporated as subsets of the ideas in the BeliefNet list.  For example, items 4 and 8 from the BeliefNet list (“stay away from porn” and “marriage is a covenant”) incorporate within them the notion that “girl” is not an insult, that men should be compassionate, and that men must respect women.  Likewise, items 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10 readily encompass “believing in men, their maturity and compassion,” because guys who step up to the requirements in the BeliefNet list will be mature, reliable, honorable and, one hopes, compassionate.

In sum, for me the BeliefNet list looks at boys as they actually are, and prepares them to become the men that they should be.  Meanwhile, the “Raising Boys” list looks at boys as girls are, and prepares them to become the men that, without being homosexual, nevertheless most closely resemble girls.

UPDATE:  With perfect timing, one of my “real me” Facebook friends posted this on his wall today:


UPDATE II: You may also want to read Kay Hymovitz on the damage single motherhood does to boys.

Who died and made you queen?

My daughter has frequently come home from soccer fulminating about certain girls on her team who keep “yelling” at her.  I have to admit that I didn’t initially take her complaints very seriously.  Being a teen she (a) has thin skin and (b) is prone to exaggeration.  Also, in a good soccer game, there is lots of communication going on.  “Mary, be open!”  “I got it!”  “Watch out, Jane!”  It wouldn’t surprise me if my daughter took “Watch out” as an insult.

And then I saw her team play.

In fact, my daughter was absolutely right.  There are a handful of girls who have taken it upon themselves to tell everyone else on the team what they’re doing wrong.  In shrill, teen girl voices they scream out “You shouldn’t have missed that.”  “You’re in the wrong place.”  “You’re doing that wrong.”  “I told you to be mid field [never mind that the coach said something else].”  As the game goes on, they get more and more shrill and dictatorial.

The person mostly at fault for this is the coach, who should squash this type of behavior immediately.  He doesn’t, though. and the fact that this is a recreational league staffed by parent volunteers means that there’s not a lot other parents can do.  I’ve advised my daughter to pull a sweet-tempered “dumb blonde” in the face of this hectoring.  She should, in dulcet terms, keep saying “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you,” until those girls are embarrassing themselves by screaming at the top of their lungs.  Meanwhile, my daughter should pay attention only to the coach.  Whether my daughter has the guile and self-control to pursue this approach is questionable.

Why am I writing about this if I can’t change the passive coach and it’s unlikely that my daughter will do anything other than get angry?  I’m writing because I find it almost incomprehensible that there are people out there who think that they have the right to yell at anyone.  This kind of narcissism is so alien to me.  There are certainly situations in which one has the right and even the duty to tell people what to do and to tell them what they’re doing wrong:  a parent to a child, a teacher to a student, a sergeant or chief to a new recruit, an employer to an employee, etc.  What my daughter is dealing with, though, are just ordinary girls (usually popular in school) who believe that they are entitled to tell everyone else not just what to do, but what they’re doing wrong.

It’s narcissism, plain and simple.  One of my favorite romance novels (you know I like them), involves a woman escaping from an abusive relationship to a narcissist.  In Lisa Kleypas’s Blue-Eyed Devil, Kleypas has as good a summary as I’ve ever seen of what a narcissist is, how he or she thinks, and how he or she controls people:

I was welcomed into a small, cozy office with a sofa upholstered in flowered yellow twill, by a therapist who didn’t seem all that much older than me. Her name was Susan Byrnes, and she was dark-haired and bright-eyed and sociable. It was a relief beyond description to unburden myself to her. She was understanding and smart, and as I described things I had felt and gone through, it seemed she had the power to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

Susan said Nick’s behavior fit the pattern of someone with narcissistic personality disorder, which was common for abusive husbands. As she told me about the disorder, it felt as if she were describing my life as it had been for the past year. A person with NPD was domineering, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ needs . . . and they used rage as a control tactic. They didn’t respect anyone else’s boundaries, which meant they felt entitled to bully and criticize until their victims were an absolute mess.

Having a personality disorder was different from being crazy, as Susan explained, because unlike a crazy person, a narcissist could control when and where he lost his temper. He’d never beat up his boss at work, for example, because that would be against his own interests. Instead he would go home and beat up his wife and kick the dog. And he would never feel guilty about it, because he would justify it and make excuses for himself. No one’s pain but his own meant anything to him.

“So you’re saying Nick’s not crazy, he’s a sociopath?” I asked Susan.

“Well . . . basically, yes. Bearing in mind that most sociopaths are not killers, they’re just nonempathetic and highly manipulative.”

“Can he ever be fixed?”

She shook her head immediately. “It’s sad to think about what kind of abuse or neglect might have made him that way. But the end result is that Nick is who he is. Narcissists are notoriously resistant to therapy. Because of their sense of grandiosity, they don’t ever see the need to change.” Susan had smiled darkly, as if at some unpleasant memory. “Believe me, no therapist wants a narcissist to walk in the door. It only results in massive frustration and a waste of time.”

(Kleypas, Lisa, Blue-Eyed Devil (pp. 92-93). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

When I look around at the number of people, from the White House down, who believe that they exist on a different plane and are therefore entitled unfettered right to criticize others, I have to ask whether this was always the case, or if the last fifty years — since Marxists took over parenting ideas and education — have created a generation of self-righteous narcissists.  What do you think?

Oh, and here’s just the right video for this post:

That certain something . . . the body language of popular kids

I attended a graduation yesterday and, this being Marin, it was a very ritzy affair.  The boys were nattily attired in suits (with a surprising number of bow ties popping up amongst the newly minted graduates) while the girls were wearing skimpy dresses, many of which obviously cost more than I spend in an entire year on my clothes.  (Of course, since I hate shopping, that’s not saying much.  But they were really, really expensive dresses.)  Kids in this community have clear skin, white teeth, expensive hair cuts, and loving (although often divorced) parents.

What fascinated me was watching the kids walk onto the stage to get their diplomas.  One could tell in an instant, especially with the boys, which were the popular kids.  Their body language was different.  While the other kids looked apologetic for occupying their physical space, the popular kids (and I had someone near me identify them as “popular” so I wasn’t guessing), seemed completely comfortable in their own bodies.  They had a physical assurance about them that was attractive.  Even sitting in the back of a crowded school auditorium, I could see their aura.  And even I, an aged parent, thought, “Wow, that kid looks cool.”

I’ve told my kids over the years not to slouch, and they both have lovely posture.  Looking at these popular kids, though, I could see that more than carriage is involved.  I think it’s innate.  That is, you can’t say to your kids, “Don’t slouch and, of course, carry yourself with relaxed self-assurance so that you’ll look popular and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”  Like Clara Bow’s elusive “It,” which was a 1920s euphemism for sex appeal, you either have “It” or you don’t.


An excellent forum at the Watcher’s Council regarding the decision to let 15 year olds buy Plan B over the counter

As the mother of the Obama government’s Plan B (aka “Morning After Pill”) demographic, I have strong feelings about the move to let 15 year olds just go to the store and buy the stuff.  The Watcher’s Council has a forum up on that subject and, as always, Council members say the most interesting things — and that’s true whether or not I agree with their conclusions.  You can read it all here, but I’m going to reprint my contribution below:

As the parent of minors, I think it’s appalling. The Left will always justify this kind of rule-making or legislation by pointing to those teenage girls who have dreadful home lives, and are at risk of being physically hurt if they confess to a pregnancy. Yes, those are real situations, but I’ve never seen any evidence that they are anything but a small minority. In the real world, parents whose daughters come home pregnant are not going to be happy, and they may yell at their daughter, but they don’t abuse her. They rally around her. In other words, they are family and they are there for her. (In this regard, I think the movie Juno was pretty accurate.)

The facts on the ground mean that the state’s motive in making birth control and abortifacients available to ever younger girls isn’t because it’s trying to protect a small minority of at-risk girls. Rather, it’s trying to break down the family unit. Sex is a great way to force that schism because, next to hunger, sex is the most powerful motivator. By promising children sex, and lots of it — without any messy consequences such as disease or pregnancy — the state ensures that children look to the state as the bountiful provider. The message is a simple one: We’ll make you happy; your parents will make you sad.

Of course, no one is looking at the very real consequences of the state’s handing out sex like an addictive drug. The state pours toxic hormone soups in adolescent bodies; treats those young bodies with powerful antibiotics; alienates young minds and emotions from those who are most likely to love them; and sends the message that human sex, rather than creating powerful, life-long emotional bonds, has no more meaning than (and about as much charm as) bovine, canine, or feline sex. No wonder the girls who graduate from the hook-up culture in college don’t feel liberated but, instead, just feel used and emotionally frozen. They have been used — not just by the men who get the girls, but by an all-powerful state that has as its goal the end of individuals’ control over their own bodies.

Lastly, there’s also something profoundly wrong about a government that, even as it criminalizes adult men and women who have sex with children, does everything it can to encourage children to have sex. I don’t have a good word to describe that. Revolting? Hypocritical? Sleazy? Obscene? Immoral? I think all apply.

Coincidentally, I just opened an email from a friend alerting me to an article that Melanie Phillips, a brilliant British conservative, wrote about the reason that Big Brother has it in for families. Please read it. It’s very important, and provides a counter-narrative to the state’s claim that parents are a child’s natural enemies, rather than their most loving supporters (in most cases).

California taxpayers are funding free condom deliveries to children as young as 12

(I was halfway through writing this one before I remembered that it was for Mr. Conservative and not for my own site.  Now that it’s up there, though, I can reprint it here, and make my friends a part of the conversation.)

You know what your 12-year-old daughter needs? Free condoms. Even better, she needs to have those free condoms delivered directly to her in discrete packing, along with lubricants and other items to facilitate her burgeoning sex life. And you know what would make this free delivery service best of all? If it by-passed parents entirely.

If you’re writhing in agony reading those words, be grateful if you’re not living in California. The California Family Health Council (CFHC) has a Condom Access Project (CAP) that mails condoms to children 12 and over for free. Put another way, California taxpayers are funding a program that purchases, packages, and ships condoms to underage minors. Think about that for a moment: If an adult has sex with underage minors, it’s statutory rape and the adult is imprisoned and reviled. If a state facilitates sex for underage minors, it’s Progressive and admired. Go figure.

An obviously excited CAP recently issued a press release boasting that its program is expanding to teens in Fresno and San Diego counties. All that the kids need to do is go to a snappily designed website called “,” fill out a form, and they’re in business.

Showing the cognitive difficulties that afflict career Leftists, that buzzy little CFHC press release is a classic case of the “Butterfield effect.” For those of you unfamiliar with this term, Fox Butterfield, a well-known Progressive journalist, gained notoriety for writing several articles in which he discussed what he thought was an inexplicable paradox: even as prison populations rose because of tougher sentencing rules, crime rates fell. He couldn’t even imagine the possibility that the tougher sentencing rules caused the falling crime rates.

In its press release, the CFHC proudly notes that it’s expanding its condom program, even as it says that “STD rates among California’s youth ages 15-19 are increasing.” Hmm. Could that rate increase be because the State of California is actively encouraging teens to have sex? (Not to leave the feds out of this equation, they used $423,500 in stimulus dollars to study “correct condom use.”) And could it be because teens, once allowed to do risky, are notorious for being irresponsible even if you give them all the necessary tools for playing it safe? This is why young teens don’t get driver’s licenses and older teens have expensive insurance: no matter the rules and the safety devices, teens are careless.

The announcement about the free condom program arrives at the same time that the FDA ruled that girls as young as 15 can buy the “morning-after pill” without parental consent. The morning-after pill is a powerful hormone cocktail that causes the uterus to reject a newly implanted zygote. In most states, teen girls cannot get their ears pierced, shoot paintball guns, or get a fake tan without parental permission, but they can put toxic quantities of hormones into their growing bodies, all without their parents knowing what’s going on.

Leftist governments hate families. The family unit is the strongest statement of individualism. The way to destroy the family is to use that most powerful of all human motivators – sex – to seduce the child away from the family and into the arms of the beneficent state. The state, which doesn’t love you, still gives you what you need for sex (condoms, The Pill, lubricants, instruction books). Then, because you’re a teen, when all those fail the state gives you the toxic medicines (hormones, antibiotics) and risky medical procedures to save you from your mistakes.

Conservative parents understand the message: “Mom and Dad are so yesterday. Turn to the state, which will give you everything you need.” Are those truly loving parents who happen to be Progressives ever going to wise up?