Bookworm Beat 3/30/17 — tight-knit communities, nuclear families, and individual worth

Looking at this grab-bag post, I can see the common thread: valuing tight-knit communities, nuclear families, and each individual’s worth.

Nuclear Families

I know why Utah’s welfare is working. Megan McArdle wrote a much-talked-about article in which she looked at Utah, which has extremely good and affordable social services. The key to Utah’s successful welfare system, although I’m not sure she realizes it, lies in this paragraph:

The volunteering starts in the church wards, where bishops keep a close eye on what’s going on in the congregation, and tap members as needed to help each other. If you’re out of work, they may reach out to small business people to find out who’s hiring. If your marriage is in trouble, they’ll find a couple who went through a hard time themselves to offer advice.

With a system like that, you’re not going to have the type of fraud that occurred in Minnesota. There, none of the bureaucrats who cut $118,000 in checks knew that the woman claiming an absent husband had, in fact, a gainfully employed husband living with her and their children. In Utah, where charity begins at the ward level, everyone would have known the woman’s marital situation and the fraud could not have happened.

Fraud is expensive. Fraud is also easy when far-away governments manage essentially anonymous programs.

All of this made me think of a fascinating talk I heard a few years ago. I learned that, before government welfare, America was not a cold, cruel place in which widows and orphans routinely died. Instead, America had a vast network of fraternal organizations that functioned as welfare organizations. As with the Mormon wards, these “welfare” agencies worked extremely well because they took place at the community level. That meant that those responsible for administering an organization’s funds knew if Joe Shmo was a layabout or a hard worker on hard times.

Utah’s hands-on approach has managed to run counter to the prevailing American system that separates the needy from the check-writers. Until we return to community-based charitable organizations, fraud and waste will be the rule of the day.

I don’t see us making that U-turn. Having passed the baton to the government, Americans are not suddenly going to enlist en masse in the Kiwanis or the Shriners (more’s the pity).

Mike Pence’s “wife” policy shows that he’s a decent and smart man. Progressives are having a field day with the fact that, if Mike Pence is have a dinner tête-à-tête with a woman, that woman will always be his wife. Here’s a tweet perfectly summarizing the hysteria:

Conservatives are pointing out that, contrary to the hysterical shrieks that this reeks of sharia, Pence’s wife is not locked in her house, she’s not wearing a burqa, and he imposes no restrictions on other women.

I’ll throw in one other thing that nobody has seemed to mention: In a town that is desperate to destroy him, Pence is wise to ensure that his behavior is above reproach. You know that if he’s caught dining a deux with another woman, no matter how innocent the context, he’ll be smeared as a hypocritical conservative hound dog playing around on his wife.

California’s Planned Parenthood cabal. You already know that, when pro-Life filmmakers recorded Planned Parenthood representatives in a crowded restaurant speaking to people whom they’d never met before about their reprehensible and illegal practices (murdering born-alive babies and selling infant body parts for profit), California did not go after Planned Parenthood. Instead, it filed a 15-count criminal indictment against the filmmakers.

Interestingly, when animal rights filmmakers did secret filming at a chicken slaughter house, California did not go after the filmmakers. Instead, it went after the slaughterhouse. At least fetuses in California know where they rank: behind chickens.

Anyway, I don’t have much to say on the subject that Ian Tuttle hasn’t already said, in what I think is the best article summing up the California outrage.

Fathers matter. Progressives have been waging war on fathers as long as I can remember. With LBJ’s great society, earnest young Progressives fanned out into black neighborhoods, telling black women that they should stop looking to men for support and start looking to the government. Blacks, who were becoming increasingly middle class, nuclear family and all, devolved into a matriarchy in which men show up, impregnate a woman, and then move on.

The next boyfriend repeats the cycle, often adding in terrible abuse to the children (who are never at greater risk than they are with a boyfriend or stepfather in the house). When the men aren’t moving from woman to woman, they’re often in jail. That’s what happens when you create a government-funded matriarchy that has room for men only as sperm donors.

There’s the war on men with the whole “rape culture” thing. (More on that below.) Men are presumptively guilty of rape.

There’s the war on men in pop culture, where generations of children have grown up watching TV shows in which fathers, rather than knowing best, are useless idiots. They are to be laughed at and discounted.

There’s the war on boys in schools, where boys are forced to sit still and read books about feelings (both of which are girl behaviors), are routinely punished for boy behaviors and desires (moving around, wanting action books), and are constantly marginalized and insulted.

And I’m pretty darn sure that the whole upswing in gender madness can be partially attributed to the number of children brought up in households without stable father figures. When I look back on all of my high school classmates who later came out as gay or lesbian, most of them grew up in troubled homes, either without a father or with a highly dominant mother. (I can think of only two exceptions.) When you watch shows about transgender youth, many of them today seem to come from such homes.

The Lefts’ attack on men and fatherhood leaves so many broken lives in its wake. And the sad fact is that we know, that a nuclear family with a biological daddy around is good for kids:

Children are healthier and more likely to grow up with a good education and get a good job if their biological father lives with them, research reveals.

But when a stepfather moves into a family home there are no benefits for the children, the pioneering study of British families found.

The warning over the failure of stepfathers to help the families they bring up was drawn from records of the lives of more than 1,000 children born to single mothers at the turn of the Millennium.

The study, carried out by three researchers from the London School of Economics, checked on reports of the health, intelligence and social skills of the children up to the age of seven.

It said when single mothers were joined by the children’s biological father, then if the family stayed together, the children were as likely to do as well as children of the best-off stable families, those which where always headed by both a mother and father.

But if a stepfather joins a family headed by a lone mother, then the children are likely to grow up with the same problems as children from families that continue to be led by a lone mother.

They are also less likely to do well at school or keep a job, and more likely to slip into teenage pregnancy or crime.

To which I say, Duh! This was all obvious to anyone paying attention.

Not all marriages are happy ones. It would certainly be nice, if one is the wife in an unhappy marriage, to walk away. But when you have kids, you no longer get to follow your bliss. You have to do what’s best for them.

If the father loves and is there for his children, and if he’s not physically abusing the mother, I think she needs to put aside her own wants and desires and stick it out until those kids grow up. She owes it to them. After all, they didn’t ask to be born, and they are entirely dependent on her choices.

Alcohol and sexual assault. I follow closely the whole “rape culture” narrative, because I think it’s a load of BS. What’s becoming increasingly clear to me is that we don’t have a “rape culture.” Instead, we have a incoherently drunk culture.

Women are crying rape when they have no idea what happened to them, but they do know that they had penetrative sex. Did they say yes? Who knows? Was it obvious to the man that they were incapable of informed consent? Again, who knows? Was the man also impaired? Who knows, but we do know that, in today’s day and age, it is always the man’s fault.

The moment this video started and the women used the weasel term “sexual assault,” not “rape,” I knew there was more to the story than actual rape. I was impressed that she honestly admits to the fact that she was beyond drunk and has no idea what happened to her.

Certainly, if the driver understood how drunk she was, he was morally and almost certainly criminally wrong to have had sex with her. But that does not remove from her the responsibility for her own conduct.

Yes, I’m committing the cardinal sin blaming the victim. This does not remove blame from the perpetrator. Nevertheless, I’m saying as loudly and clearly as I can that, until women stop drinking as they are, they are going to get violently raped, and stranger raped, and gray raped, and friend raped, and gang-raped, and ex-boyfriend raped, and whatever else happens when they’re drunk.

I am terribly sorry for this young woman, but she perfectly exemplifies a huge societal problem. Let me say it again: women have to stop drinking like this.

The video ends with the young woman saying it’s not her fault and she shouldn’t blame herself. Well, maybe he would have raped her even if she had been sober. But her narrative of blacked-out drunkenness means that, as the situation played out, it’s entirely reasonable to say that she put herself in harm’s way and should blame herself — and until women admit this, a whole new generation of girls is going to get drunk and then wake up feeling that something very, very wrong happened.

How modern judges should be treated. Kurt Schlichter, in discussing the Democrats’ desire to throw themselves into the filibuster chipper for Gorsuch, says a few things that are right on the money about the current crop of activist so-called judges (they are not real judges, because law is alien to them):

Somewhere along the line, the left decided that judges were a convenient shortcut to avoid the unpleasant hassle of actually passing laws through the legislative process. To them, the Constitution is not a glorious barrier to government overreach – or, rather, the fact that it is one is a bug, not a feature. To them, our Constitution is an obstacle to be overcome, and any given law should be applied, if at all, only in the manner most conducive to what liberals want right this minute. Tell me what Democrat appointed a given judge in a political case and I will tell you how he will vote with 99% accuracy. No, I don’t have some sort of psychic ability. I just pay attention.

If you don’t believe me, read the Ninth Circuit’s decision interpreting the president’s powers to exclude aliens under the applicable statute. You’ll find something missing, something significant: any mention of the applicable statute. You aren’t interpreting the law if you neglect to ever mention the law you’re allegedly interpreting. What you’re really doing is exercising raw power in the service of your whims.

It is a sad fact that judges today are simply another caste of political actors, except they don’t have to deal with the hassle of reelection and thereby the inconvenience of accountability. It’s not about justice, it’s about raw power – power that they shouldn’t have, but do. If the courts wish not to be treated like just another hack partisan actor, then perhaps they shouldn’t act like just another hack partisan actor. We’re done with these double standards. You can’t expect the honor and respect due a neutral who merely seeks to do justice without being a neutral who merely seeks to do justice.

Bravo! That’s exactly right.

Obama weaponized media. The Democrats are going to rue the day that they ran with the Trump narrative. The reality is that, from the moment Trump fought back, all sorts of ugly things began to emerge about Obama. Based upon the facts already known, Michael Doran accuses Obama of having weaponized the media:

The leaking of Flynn’s name was part of what can only be described as a White House campaign to hype the Russian threat and, at the same time, to depict Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate.  On Dec. 29, Obama announced sanctions against Russia as retribution for its hacking activities.  From that date until Trump’s inauguration, the White House aggressively pumped into the media two streams of information: one about Russian hacking; the other about Trump’s Russia connection. In the hands of sympathetic reporters, the two streams blended into one.

The media was already primed for the attack. Obama just stuck the weapon in their hands.

Brazil illustrates socialism’s failures. I put this video up on my real-me Facebook. All I got back was dead air. What should really happen is that everyone should watch it to understand that socialism, wherever tried, whenever tried, is a failure. As I’ve explained a thousand times to my children, the only reason it worked in Europe was because America funded it as part of the Cold War:

Our medical system gives incentives to abuse ERs. I’ve written before umpteen times about the fact that I have a friend who lives among poor people, none of whom have insurance, and my friend was the only one in she knew who took advantage of Obamacare. The others thought she was foolish to spend $100 a month on something they could get for free. This article shows that my friend and I are not making things up.

A very wonderful four-year-old. A British mother made a game with her children of teaching them how to call emergency services. When her four-year-old twins found her unconscious, they managed to use her thumb to open her phone, asked Siri to call emergency services, and this phone call resulted:

That is one awesome little boy.

Law firm suing Buzzfeed has some fun. If you take the time to check out the entire legal brief, it’s an ordinary, well-written brief opposing a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. You can learn more details here. What makes it special is the first page, which gently pokes fun at Buzzfeed’s famous click bait:

(And that really is the caption for the opposition to the motion.)

Gently ridiculing ignorant coastal reporters. A Missouri newsman did a very charming little spot ridiculing those reporters who have never been to the Midwest but who manage to have very strong opinions about it anyway:

Precocious talent. I don’t know who these kids are, where they live, how old they are, or the circumstances behind this performance. All I know is that for two such young people, it’s a damn impressive show:

Picture credit: mdintenfass, The Nuclear Family 1945; Creative Commons license.