Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lenore Skenazy on our column.

The feedback from the column on teenage "sex offenders" continues to be mostly positive. Syndicated columnist Lenore Skenazy is the most recent to mention the essay in her column of Sept 17th. Coincidentally I had just finished reading Skanzy's own book, Free-Range Kids, a short while ago. Her publisher had sent me a copy and I sat down immediately to read it through. My only problem with it is that it seems that what she is saying is so obvious I'm still having a hard time believing people need to hear it. But apparently there are a lot of irrational, fear-driving adults out there.

Skenazy made the news herself when she wrote a column about her son nine-year-old son Izzy. Izzy told his mother he was confident that he could find his way around on the New York City transit system and asked permission to go with her downtown and find his own way back, without her. She agreed. Izzy had no problems whatsoever and easily found his way back. Skenazy wrote about this and the hysterics and panic-driven launched into overdrive attacking her as an awful mother daring to give her kid freedom. Doesn't she know that children must be constantly monitored for ever second of the day due the high chance of something awful happening—abductors, rapists, murderers, vampires, meteors, space aliens, etc? There are just some people who seem to get a kick out of being in a panic about something. And Skenazy pissed them off because, while she apprehensions, she didn't share the shear panic that such hysterics get high from.

Skenazy wrote about a blog radio interview she did recetly about "sex registries" and said she had "written that these lists are rife with folks who've committed such 'sex crimes' as peeing public, visiting a prostitute or even streaking—in other words, folks who don't pose much of a threat to kids." She told her readers: "So rather than making our kids safe from predators, the registry is turning them into "predators." It's labeling them that! Boys as young as 14 [actually Lenore, it is much younger] can find themselves on the registry for years—for decades—and our rationale? It's 'for the sake of the children.'" Amen, Sister Lenore, I'm with you.

She then urgers readers to go to freestudents.blogspot.com, that's us. So, if you came here as a result of that column welcome. The article you are looking for can be found here.

I am sure that Ms. Skenazy will get some rather unpleasant hate mail as a result of her column. But she got that merely for letting her son ride the subway on his own. Good lord, I once walked a couple of miles as a small child to find my father—successfully. On another occassion, even younger, I walked from my parents home to my grandmother's across several busy streets. I knew where I was going and got there. (Oddly years later, I mentioned to my mother and grandmother that I had just gone to look at the first house we lived in -- which I moved from when I was five. They both insisted I went to the wrong house and simply couldn't remember it after so many decades. Then they realized I was right and they had gotten it wrong. I liked that.)

I'm glad she has a syndicated column and appreciate the mention. I hope she's ready for the burning at the stake.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Kiss me, Guido

No, not the 1997 film by that title. Just a bit of a celebration thanks to Guido Westerwelle. Germany held its national election and the "Grand Coalition" of do-nothingness, engineered by Angela Merkel is over.

When the last election ended in a stalemate, instead of sitting on the sidelines, as I though was wise, Merkel formed a Grand Coalition with the Social Democrats. The result was inertia. Merkel wanted power more than she wanted reform. And German lost out because of it. While everyone was clammering for a place at the table, Westerwelle lead his Free Democratic Party into the wilderness of opposition. He said that he would rather wait things out to the next election than form an alliance with the Social Democratic Party, which is precisely what he should have done.

The results showed that strategy paid off. Both the SDP and Merkel's Christian Democratic Union lost support. The big winner was Westerwelle and the FDP which sprung to its highest national votes ever, just shy of 15% of the total. Westerwelle and the FDP is the closest thing to a libertarian party in Germany. They tend to favor lower taxes, less government regulation, and social liberalism. And certainly a government lead by Merkel and Westerwelle is cutting new ground socially. Never before have the two main leaders of a nation been a woman and a gay man. No doubt the Mormons are fund-raising to try to have a referendum overturning the election. (Just a joke.)

What is interesting is to see the dramatic increases for the FDP. In the state of Schleswig-Holstein the FDP received 14.9% of the vote, in 2005 it had 6.6%. In Brandenburg it went from 3.3% to 7.2%; Baden-Württemberg, from 11.9% to 18.8% -- just 1/2 percent behind the SPD there; Bayern from 9.5% to 14.7%; Berlin from 8.2% to 11.5%; Bremen from 8.1% to 10.6%; Hamburg from 9% to 13.2%; Hessen from 11.7% to 16.6%; Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, from 6.3% to 9.8%; Niedersachsen, from 8.9% to 13.3%; Nordrhein-Westfalen, from 10% to 14.9%; Rheinland-Pfalz, from 11.7% to 16.6%; Saarland, from 7.4% to 11.9%; Sachsen-Anhalt, from 8.1% to 10.3%; Thüringen, from 7.9 to 9.8%. The FDP made gains in every region of the country, even in the old East where the far left still holds some sway.

Because of the way seats are allocated Merkel's CDU did gain slight in the Bundestag, going from 226 seats to 239 seats. The SDP saw their number of seats from by 76 while the FDP went from 61 seats to 93 seats.

Americans may see more of Westerwelle than in the past. As the head of the second main party of government it is likely that Westerwelle will become German's Foreign Minister. That should prove interesting in dealing with backward parts of the world: like Islamic nations and the American South. It could be amusing watching Islamic delegations having to treat a gay man with respect. Westerwelle was asked if he thought being gay would be a disadvantge when dealing with the more bigoted nations. He said: "The decision as to whom we send as a government representative rests soley with us Germans based on political and moral standards." In other words: tough.

Photo: Westerwelle (R) and his long-time partner, Michael Mronz (L), celebrating the German election returns.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

A wothwhile look at the flaw of democracy.

I've been meaning to mention a piece I read by Jason Kuznicki, over at Postive Liberty. The unexpected rush of visits in the last week, and all the correspondence it created, meant I neglected to do so. So I wish to rectify my neglect immediately.

Jason noted a poll in Iowa about the impact of gay marriage in the state. It is rather remarkable because the poll, for the first time to my knowledge, asked people whether equal marriage rights had any impact on their life. Few did, 92% of the population said it had no impact on their lives whatsoever. Of the small percentage who said it had some impact, I would think many had to be gay people who were allowed to marry. In other words, gay marriage doesn't hurt anyone, at least 92% of the Iowans said it had zero impact on them so they couldn't have been hurt by it.

However, the population is evenly split when it comes to abolishing this thing, that virtually none of them say, hurts anyone. Jason notes that: "Democracy makes it trivially easy to interfere with the lives of others." He explains that the median voter "cant be expected to care much about the rights of minorities, because by definition the median voter doesn't ever belong to a minority." This means that "he will therefore be indifferent to the interests of the minority. This doesn't bode well for minority rights of any kind whenever such questions come up."

Jason warns that: "We're all in a minority sooner or later, and we will all face that coldly indifferent media voter who can't see what the fuss is about, and who views deciding on our rights as something very important, even as something sacred rather than as something repugnant and shamefuly. Maybe his sacred duty will tell him to take away our rights, and because it's called democracy, it's all good just the same. That is what's wrong with democracy."

I can't see anything to disagree with there.

I must confess it baffles me how people can think that marriage equality ought to be taken away from some people, while at the same time, saying it has no negative impact on their life whatsoever. If that is the case, then why bother and get so heated up about it? I can see why some people get heated up in favor of it, it dramatically changes their lives. But I simply can't see any rational reason to oppose it. But then, as I've said before: When there is no rational reason for something there is usually an irrational one. And it's usually religion.

And now, to explain the photo, a public congratulations to Jason and his partner Scott, who recently became parents. Jason and Scott, have apparently sworn off sleep for the next year or so and consigned themselves to perpetual worry from here on out. Here is Jason with daughter, Alice.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

One more piece of evidence.

It speaks for itself.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

A partial listing of our material on teens, sex offending, and the infamous registries.

The recent post on teen sex offenders riled up a lot of people. Most people were horrified at what is going on. A substantial minority, however, were trying hard to justify these bad laws. Many simply claim that there is no evidence that kids are being penalized for natural, sexual activity between teens.

Their argument, limited as it was, claimed that I didn’t offer proof. That they were reading what I call my “summation to the jury” made no difference to them. They ignored reams of evidence posted on this blog merely because it wasn’t handed to them on a silver platter with the summation. But that summation of the situation, was long enough. Trying to make it a definitive discussion of the issue simply makes no sense. And readers, who were too lazy to check what else was published on the matter, really shouldn’t condemn an author because of their own failure to research the matter more thoroughly.

The purpose of this posting is merely to list the dozens of articles that tackled this topic in various ways. I will list them in categories with links. Those people who pretend that every kid on the sex offender’s registries deserves his fate are not just ignorant of the facts, but intentionally ignorant. The facts are readily available and documentation exists showing this to be a widespread problem. I can understand some of this willful blindness. If you can convince yourself that the vast majority of kids on these registries is guilty of some horrific crime, it makes life easier. You can sleep better pretending things are fine. The alternative is too upsetting for some people so they pretend.

Here are the numerous articles that make up my “evidence to the jury.” The “summation” ought to be read in light of the evidence to be properly assessed.

False Accusations

Teenage boy false accused of sexual molestation spends, is raped in prison, attacked and abused. After spending 21 years in prison he is released as innocent. Yep, they are all guilty, aren’t they

Kids and Porn

Two 11-year-old boys face felony charges for using a school computer to find porn and showing their friends. Conviction could mean sex offender list.

Teacher investigates teens for “sexting.” He confiscates one image, that showed nothing actually, and is then arrested and prosecuted as a child pornographer.

General Discussion

A look at the trend in criminalizing teenage sexuality.

Sex Offender List

How the lists are used to force “offenders” into being homeless and how that lead to one man freezing to death because he was banned from having a house.

A man steals a credit card and ends up on the sex offender registry as a result.

A high school girl gives a classmate a blow job. Years later she is still on the sex offender’s registry.

A woman is groped by a man. She tells him off. He gets worried she will report him so he reports her saying she groped him. She ends up on sex offender’s list.

Indiana considers law that makes selling “obscene” material an reason for being put on the sex offender’s list. Two more cases of voluntary teen sexuality leads to life on the sex offender’s list.

Girls who whistled at some men face potential criminal action. England considers laws that would qualify said whistlers for the sex offender’s registry.

A extremely mature looking, underage girl, lies about her age. Claims to be a divorced adult tricks two men into having sex with her as an adult. Her family reports the men who are now registered sex offenders even though the girl clearly appeared to be in her 20s and admits lying about her age.

Teen boy ends up on sex offender list for consensual sex with date. Female youth worker hugs boy. Because the hug meant her breasts touch him she is arrested and put on the sex offender’s list.

A young mother breast feeds her baby. A photo of this is taken by her husband. They are arrested for child pornography and forced into sex offender therapy.

Boys play “slapping” game at school, arrested for sexual harassment and jailed. The kids all thought it was a game but the State thought otherwise. More here.

Racy photos from an Abercrombie & Fitch ad campaign gets store raided for child pornography.

Sex offender registries make reoffending more likely, thus leading to more crimes, not less. Individuals on said list include people arrested for gay sex (before it was legal), and a prisoner who masturbated in his own cell. Numerous cases itemized here.

Sex Offender Registries used by vigilantes to find victims to murder.

Teens go on sex offender list for consenting sex. One young man, added to the list for sex with his girlfriend, is murdered by a vigilante who used the sex offender’s list to find his victim.

Teenage boys finds computer controlled by malware, faces prosecution as a sex offender. The Matt Bandy case. More here, here, here, here and here.

Teenage boy faces sex offender list for streaking a school event.

Priest jogs around track in the nude, in the middle of the night, by himself. Police drive by, notice him, arrest him and he’s now a sex offender.

Man in jail cell masturbates and charged as a sex offender for doing so.

Two kids have consensual sex with each other. Both are arrested for "molesting" the other.

Two girls arrested for molesting themselves.

Four-year-old's hug deemed sexual harassment.


Six teens are arrested in Pennsylvania as “child pornographers” for images of themselves. One school based police officer claims half to 2/3rds of teens have such images. These teens, when convicted end up on the sex offender registries.

A survey of American teens shows that about one in five are legally guilty of violating child porn laws because of sexting. All these kids qualify as sex offenders no matter where they live.

Teens have sex in a car and use cell phone to record it for 30 seconds (not much was actual shown). The police get wind of it and the teens are arrested and charged with child pornography. That would make them sex offenders.

A teenage girl photographs herself nude and sends the photo to a teenage boy. The boy is arrested on child porn charges.

A 15-year-old girl in Ohio takes a photo of herself nude. She is arrested as a child pornographer for “illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material”. She faces the sex registry as a result.

Police imply that all students at one local high school are guilty of sex offenses for sexting or possessing said images.

Sex Panics and Kids

Study shows that few kids receive sexual solicitations on-line and most who do are older teens who used the Internet to look for sexual partners.

Even looking in the direction of children is deemed by some to be a perversion requiring regulation and police intervention.

Two elderly women want to take photos of children playing and are harassed by the police as potential pedophiles.

Sarah Palin’s daughter was pregnant and her boyfriend was the father. No charges in Alaska, but he would have faced sex charges in numerous other states and been subjected to the sex registry for it.

A 4-year-old boy hugged a teacher and is thrown out of school for sexual harassment. Another school disciplines two girls who hugged each other, calling it “inappropriate” touch.

Police officer humiliates teen girls in front of school to prove the internet is a dangerous place for kids. Proves cops are dangerous to kids as well.

Man is prosecuted for taking photos of a cheerleaders at a public exhibition. Police claim it is child pornography even if the girls are dressed. Man stupidly accepts plea bargain.

A small boy is listed for sexual harassment because he slapped another student’s butt. The police were called by the school for the offense. Hundreds of kids are so accused each year.

School covers faces of all students in on-line photos to “protect” them from imagined predators.

Ten-year-0ld suspended for asking for hug.

Kids and internet porn, are they accidentally viewing it, or looking for it.

Teacher loses control of classroom computer and arrested as sex offender. More here and here.

Five-year-old suspended for sexual harassment.


How our culture cultivates an anti-sexual attitude.

Politicians want to add "elderly" to laws on child pornography making photos of old people a sex crime.

Selling dildos a sex offense. And here, here and here.

Male dancers (clothed) arrested for pelvic thrust.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wow and Triple Wow

The post I wrote about the anger and sadness I felt when looking at the photos of so-called, teenage "sex offenders" has gone viral. I honestly did not expect the response I received. Since this blog was created I have commented on this issue numerous times. I did so previously with sources referenced so people could verify what I said. That got very little attention.

Regular readers here were horrified by the stories but it rarely went beyond the confines of this little blog. The comments from a few days ago was not a dispassionate discussion of the issues. It wasn't filled with links to sources for verification. It was merely a summation of my own feelings, as they have jelled over this issue, based on years worth of accumulated evidence. It was raw and emotional—that got attention.

Wendy McElroy, a friend of this blog, noted it on her blog iFeminist. Radley Balko, at The Agitator, mentioned it as well. He called the post "one of the more moving blog posts I've read in a long time" and said the photos were "crushing." Truly, they are. That is how I felt when I first saw them myself. Several other sites started picking up the article as well. Earlier today Andrew Sullivan mentioned it on his blog. It got on some of the social networking sites and has gone viral. Since lunch today we have had new readers on the site at the rate of one every 2 seconds.

Now I discover that Dr. Christopher Ryan has written a piece at Psychology Today using the blog post as the foundation for it. He writes:
Adolescents all over the country are getting into serious legal trouble for sexting one another: snapping a risqué photo of themselves with their cell-phone and sending it to a friend. Turns out, in many states, these kids can be sent to prison (where sexual abuse is rampant) for photographing their own bodies (manufacturing child pornography) and sharing the photos (distributing child pornography). They're being forced to register as sex offenders despite the fact that they themselves are the victims. Being freaked-out about sex isn't just sad and ridiculous. It leads directly to horrible abuse of people who aren't responsible for the twisted sexuality of adults.
In watching the explosion of visitors I could do some basic monitoring of who is on the blog. There were visits from the U.S. Senate as well as the House of Representatives.

There have been some issues raised which I commented on briefly in the comments section and in an update. Let me do so again here. First, some noted no females. Originally I came across the photos on another site, it was there that I first saw them. I used what they had gleaned from the records. I used them because they had the bars over the eyes to try and help protect the identity of these boys and it would be quite time-consuming to do that with photos I pulled from the registry sites. I spent some hours on two sex registries where I was able to sort "offenders" roughly by their age. In the course of that research I looked at hundreds of cases. Not one of the cases I saw on-line, at two registries, had a girl in the teenage section, that I saw.

I did stop looking after a couple of hours of depressing reading. I know that their are girls on the registry. But the law is mainly enforced against boys, not against girls. And I for one, hope the legal system doesn't start doing this to girls as well. I want equal justice, not equal injustice.

The other fact which was brought up at Obsidian Wings was that most the boys appear to be white though one "may be Hispanic." Again, since they were borrowed from another site I was using what I had, but my time on the registry offender sites showed me that the overwhelming majority of boys being arrested are white, or appear to be. (The use of Hispanic to denote race is very loose and imprecise and should be avoided. Hispanic is a language group not a race. Many Hispanics are black, many are white, many are Indian, many are mixed ethnicity. How it got used for race I don't know, but it is confusing.) With 50 registries the percentage of whites on a list may vary with the percentage of whites in the state. One state I looked at is clearly a very white state, but the other is quite mixed. Even in that state I saw few dark faces.

Why that is, I'm not sure. Certainly the adult sex offenders are far more racially mixed. Perhaps teenage sexuality is not viewed the same way in the minority communities. Perhaps it is white America that is horrified at teen sex more than others and thus more likely to report such incidents. I don't know. I sure hope the law is not equally applied to racial minorities. I want these laws changed not enforced equally.

Obsidian Wings wonders if the fact that these boys look like us made the story more emotionally compelling. Perhaps. I don't actually care why it got attention, I'm just thrilled it did. These laws are a blight on America. The true child molesters were the people who passed these laws and who enforce them. And I want people to realize this is happening.

Some dismissed the language as flowery—I take that to mean it that words were used which they don't understand. But, you know what? It worked. It got noticed where the previous articles, with the sources scrupulously linked, got ignored. If it takes flowery language and emotion to get people to sit up and notice a horrible injustice around us, they damn me for it, but I'll use all the flowery words and emotions I can muster. Unlike most the laws justified by this term, I can really say, "It's for the kids." It really is for them.

A film producer from California is interested in producing a documentary based on the evidence we have presented in this blog about this issue. I know others who feel the same way and want to see this project. The funds that need to be raised to produce it are $100,000. If you would like to help with that (and I believe we can get you a tax credit for any donations) or if you think you should be interviewed for the project, please email the project at documentarykids@gmail.com. Someone will be in touch.

A list of the numerous articles previously posted on this topic can now be found here. This is not a complete list but fairly complete and documents the claims made on this blog.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Taking on the myth of life expectancy.

Periodically I have taken on the myth that American life expectancy, being lower than many Western nations, is proof that the American health system is failing. This is clearly one of the more bogus claims that advocates of state controlled health care propagate.

I was glad to see John Tierney in the New York Times, take on the issue as well. (I have never met Mr. Tierney directly though we did sit in on the same press conference with Matt Stone and Trey Parker (South Park) in Amsterdam a couple of years ago.) Tierny basis his column on research published in Health Affairs. Here is the synopsis of that article:
The United States spends more on health care than any European country. Previous studies have sought to explain these differences in terms of system capacity, access to technologies, gross domestic product, and prices. We examine differences in disease prevalence and treatment rates for ten of the most costly conditions between the United States and ten European countries using surveys of the noninstitutionalized population age fifty and older. Disease prevalence and rates of medication treatment are much higher in the United States than in these European countries. Efforts to reduce the U.S. prevalence of chronic illness should remain a key policy goal.

What this means is that Americans have specific problems more often than Europeans do: in particular cancer and heart disease. Both problems are strongly related to lifestyle choices NOT to health care. As Tierney explains:
there are many more differences between Europe and the United States than just the health care system. Americans are more ethnically diverse. They eat different food. They are fatter. Perhaps most important, they used to be exceptionally heavy smokers. For four decades, until the mid-1980s, per-capita cigarette consumption was higher in the United States (particularly among women) than anywhere else in the developed world. Dr. Preston and other researchers have calculated that if deaths due to smoking were excluded, the United States would rise to the top half of the longevity rankings for developed countries
Dr. Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania did the study with several others. Tierney writes: "Dr. Preston says he saw no evidence of the much-quoted estimate that poor health care is responsible for more preventable deaths in the United States than in other developed countries." Tierney notes that the findings of the study show that Americans who do become ill tend to get better care in the United States. This shows up in statistics like the cancer survival rate. Tierney notes that: "Americans also do relatively well in surviving heart attacks and strokes, and some studies have found that hypertension is treated more successfully in the United States. Compared with Europeans, Americans are more likely to receive medication if they have heart disease, high cholesterol, lung disease or osteoporosis."

Preston is basically saying that Americans have a shorter life-span due to bad decisions they make, not due to bad health care. They do get sick more often and earlier in life as a result. But when the health care they receive is compared to that of Europeans with the same problem, the Americans do quite well. Preston believes that the difference in life spans will close very rapidly primarily as a result of the decline of smoking in the United States.

Dr June O'Neill, and Dr. Dave O'Neill of Baruch College, City University of New York, did a study comparing the actual treatment that Americans receive, on average, to the actual treatment that Canadians received from their nationalized health system. This was not studying the promises the two systems made but the actual delivery of care given to people with specific illnesses. In disease category after disease category they found Americans were more likely to be receiving treatment not less, with a couple of minor exceptions. In each case the compare Americans with a specific medical problem to Canadians with the same problem and then calculated the percentage who were actually receiving treatment.

Their study found that: "Out of eight conditions they investigated Americans have higher treatment rations in six categories with Canada leading in asthma and angina." But they found that for angina this was only true for younger patients not older patients. When it came to individuals over 64-years-of-age Americans had higher treatment rates than their counterparts in Canada. Their conclusion: "the U.S. generally performs better with respect to treatment of all conditions except that of asthma."

They also found that Americans are more likely to undergo preventative testing such as PAP smear, mammograms and PSA test for prostate cancer. For instance, 74.9% of all American women had a mammograpm in the last two years where only 54.7% of Canadian women did. For older men 54.2% have been checked for prostate cancer. In Canada is was only 16.4%. When it came to checking for colorectal cancer, Americans were six times more likely to be checked than Canadians. The O'Neills found that Americans had better cancer survival rates than did Canadians. A study in Lancet found the same thing when comparing American survival rates to those of Europeans -- the U.S. was well in the lead when it came to survival rates.

The O'Neills found something quite similar to what Dr. Preston found: Americans have higher incidences of health problems than do Canadians but they also had higher treatment rates. And Americans, when asked how happy they were with their care, had a satisfaction rate higher than the Canadians as well.

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The state of Republican thinking.

I am convinced that the religious right is nuts, quite literally nuts. I don't mean mentally ill. They are not ill, they are just crazy. Here is a top add to Republican Senator Tom Coburn. This is the sort of wacky theorizing that religious lunatics use. Here is Coburn's chief of staff, Michael Schwartz, explaining to the Values Voters Summit how all erotica is inherently homosexual. Add together a heaping cup of antigay bigotry, along with a lot of big government censorship, mix in a little bit of Jesus, and this is what comes out.

For some idea of the kooky ideas of Schwartz, and his boss, read this.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

One easy reform, major results. Many more to go.

Recently I was sent a documentary regarding the current situation in Zimbabwe. I have long been interested in that poor nation. It is a country that was doing relatively well until the "president for life" Robert Mugabe decided to plunder the economy for his own benefit. He plunged Zimbabwe into chaos, famine and genocide.

Mugabe has not been the truly elected leader of Zimbabwe for several elections now but he has rigged the vote counting, with the complicity of the South Africa's ruling African National Congress. I won't go into the 30 year history of Mugabe's misrule of Zimbabwe here but mention one policy he adopted a few years ago.

Not long ago Mugabe decided he could pay for everything he wanted by printing more Zim dollars. So he had the printing presses running at full speed churning out more money—much as George Bush and Barack Obama have done. The result was that inflation started to escalate.

Mugabe never takes responsibility for his screw ups (again like Dubya and Obama) so he said that inflation was due to prices rising. Of course, he has it perfectly backwards. Inflation causes prices to go up. And what is inflated is the money supply. As the money supply is expanded the value of each dollar declines. As the value declines it takes more dollars to buy the same thing.

Mugabe responded with wage and price controls. He passed a law saying the price of goods and services couldn't increase. At the same time he was trying to print more Zim dollars driving down the currency's value. So, with a lethal combination of inflationary police with price controls, Mugabe created a shortage of virtually everything. Products disappeared from the shelves. Producers were basically told they had to accept worthless currency in exchange for valuable commodities. In spite of Mugabe's pointless legislation the real price of goods escalated. But wages were frozen and Mugabe was starving his own people to death.

After losing yet another election Mugabe knew he was facing a coup so he allowed the actual winners to be partners in his government. And the Movement for Democratic Change took a rightful spot in government, though they actually should be ruling without Mugabe, who deserves a firing squad. The MDC decided that something had to be done about the shortages. So they legalized the use of US dollars and South African rands in Zimbabwe. That effectively removed the price controls which were in Zim dollars.

Overnight two things happened. Zim dollars disappeared from the market place -- no one will take them. And the markets were flooded with new goods and products. The shortages disappeared instantly. Last year inflation in Zimbabwe reached 231,000,000 percent. In other words, something that cost $1 at the beginning of the year was selling for $231 million at the end of the year. Inflation now appears to be done to about 1 per cent per month or less.

The last time I was in Zimbabwe everyone wanted South Africa Rands or US dollars and that was prior to Mugabe's printing press taxation policy. Inflation is a tax, it is an indirect tax. Instead of taxing your income the government reduces the value of your holdings through the printing of new money. They spend the new money first, before it pushes prices upwards. So they get the benefits of the spending and you pay later with higher prices. Politicians find it easier to steal your wealth through inflation than through taxation—it's less likely that they get the blame. And they will do their best to blame "greedy capitalists" for their own sins. And large numbers of the public are dumb enough to believe them.

Nyoko Nyazvigo is a widow who crosses into Mozambique to clean houses for a living. She is paid in foreign currency and uses that to buy goods. She says she is happy the Zim dollar has disappeared. "With the Zimbabwean dollar, prices changed almost every day — and sometimes every hour. With the US dollar and rands, even with the few (Mozambican) meticals I get, I know I can save for a week and buy something." Inflationary policies punish people who save money.

The East African says that what happened in Zimbabwe is what you expect when you let politicians determine the value of money. I agree. The author noted, "that the US is in debt to the tune of $30,000,000,000,000. May be it might make sense [for the Zimbabweans] to follow the Maasai and stay with cattle [as a currency]." He does have a point.

The US government is actually following Mugabe's lead and inflating the money supply to astronomical levels. Inflation is sure to follow meaning. Jack Puglsey, in his recent newsletter, warns: "There's no telling when—or how severely—price inflation will surge. All we can be certain is that the silent tax [of inflation] will be levied with a vengeance." So anyone holding their assets in US dollars, given the way the Bush/Obama administration is inflating the money supply, is at risk.

But clearly a return to a currency controlled by Mugabe is lunacy. Of course, that is precisely what Mugabe wants. He, and various left-wing journalists, argue that US dollars are difficult for rural Zimbabweans to acquire. But as Garika Chimuka, in the Zimbabwe Telegraph, points out:
Before the demise of the Zim dollar in 2008, rural populace suffered the worst in living memory since they were made to part with their cattle for useless Zim dollars which bought nothing.

That is why in 2008, most rural Zimbabweans were now bartering their livestock for grain, clothes or even school fees
With the introduction of currencies like the US and rand which are stable currencies, the rural people can now easily sell their produce or livestock and get money which they can use or save without being short changed.

It also removed the need for barter trading which was heavily skewed against rural populace most who lost cattle for a single bag of maize
Therefore to suggest that re-introduction of the Zim dollar will help rural Zimbabweans is the height of idiocy.

The Mugabe- Gono led government will not move from 1 village to another giving the rural populace money for free. They will have to earn it. The rural Zimbabweans are better off selling their goods and services for a currency that works

In most rural areas, the old men and women value saving their money. Think of how our grandmothers would keep mini-banks of notes and coins sometimes for a number of years only withdrawing it for a rainy day. This is only possible if they have a stable currency not the Zim dollar which Gono and Mugabe are crying for.
It should be noted that the Mugabe regime is speaking of a gold back currency now. But before you get too excited ask yourself a question. How will a bankrupt government purchase the gold necessary to back the new currency? The Zimbabwean government doesn't have the assets worth the gold they need. Chimuka warns that the Mugabe regime "will have to grab the gold" to back the currency and that "will automatically kill all the hopes in mining."

This is not to say that a gold backed currency can't be introduced. I suggest letting the mining companies store the gold and pay employees in script backed by gold. Let the mining companies print the script privately and allow Zimbabweans to use that script just as they use the US dollar and South African rand. Thousands of mine workers could be paid in gold-backed script which they will use to purchase food and other goods. Long term this gold-backed script would be even more sought after than the sinking US dollar, or the rand.

But, given past experience with Mugabe, what he will do would be confiscate gold to produce his currency, and then crank up the presses again issuing script in excess of the gold he has in stock. In other words he would start the inflationary process all over again. Gold backed currencies have been inflated by governments before. Mugabe, I suggest, is just looking for a new way to sucker people into accepting a currency he inflates at will yet again.

It is one thing to allow competing currencies to tame Mugabe's inflation monster. But Zimbabwe needs to restore production and agriculture. That will be much harder. It will require evicting Mugabe and his vampire elite from the hundreds of productive farms they confiscated, in the name of the people, for themselves. It will require putting an end to the systematic legal plunder of Zim's businesses by the government. In other words, it requires the destruction of the ruling elite's ability to interfere in the economy. That will be a much harder task to accomplish.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

There is a fury and and sadness inside that I cannot express.

This is not the blog entry I intended to write. Something very disturbing happened to me that has forced me to change my topic completely. It is not a new topic, but it is one that hit me with a new sense of urgency. I saw an image earlier today, while reading an article that someone suggested to me. That image broke me down emotionally.

I looked at it for a second and turned away, not because it was horrific or grotesque, but because another few seconds of viewing it and I would have been sitting in my office in tears. Even now I fear adding the image to my blog because of the impact it had on me—it is so disturbing to me that I literally wish to avoid looking at it again, even if to share it with you. I will force myself to do it. I know that I am compelled to do it because of the great injustice that is being done.

I just wish it were not necessary. I just wish I knew how to speak so people understood this issue. Between the tears all I feel is rage, an uncontrollable rage. I want to grab our “society” by the shoulders, shake it violently, and scream at the top of my voice: “Don’t you fucking understand what you are doing? How can you let this happen? How can you demand that it happen?”

Here is the photo. I’ve looked at it again. I can’t look at it and type at the same time, it is too upsetting. This boy is one of the many kids that our society says are sex offenders. The interfering politicans, the would-be Nannies and do-gooders, passed ill-conceived laws to protect our young, and instead, they are devouring the young and sacrificing them to the god of safety.
What was once considered a normal rite of passage—typical curiosity that the newly sexualized young have about themselves, their bodies, and the bodies of others—has become a heinous crime. Not long ago a curious adolescent or child, caught exploring, or playing doctor in the back yard, was given a talking-to, sent to bed early, and warned to not do it again—a warning most heeded for at least another few years, after which time warnings were useless. Today, it has been criminalized, and criminalized in a way far exceeding crimes of violence. A youth who has sex with another youth, even if voluntary, could well face legal sentences far worse than if they had killed their friend.

Consider two young people, confused by their own budding sexuality, curious as to the dynamics of sex, terrified by it, but drawn to it anyway. Nature, or God, if you prefer, built the human body so that that the young are flooded with hormones that inspire lust and a need for release. Perhaps the mind is not ready to grasp what is happening, but the body demands it. At the very least, it is NOT very intelligent design. But it is what it is. Wishing won’t make it different.

These two young people seek some seclusion. “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.” Nervous hands unzip zippers. Tentative touching, complete silence as they forget to even breathe. A door suddenly opens. They try to cover up. They don’t understand why they did it or what it means. That is part of what they were trying to figure out. Something from deep within compelled them to seek something they didn’t understand. Perhaps they are too young to fully understand.

These days we let the special interest groups and politicians terrorize us about the “threat to our children.” We have passed hundreds of ill-conceived pieces of legislation “to protect our children.” Now we are sacrificing our children on the very political altars that we helped build.

Just as Abraham was willing to tie up his beloved son, Isaac, and stab a knife into the boy’s chest as a sacrifice to his God, the American public has made their children a sacrifice to the god of big government. We have allowed the politicians, no—we didn’t allow it, we demanded that the politicians abuse and torture thousands of children per year because we were afraid of monsters that we imagined, far worse than those that really lurked in our neighborhoods. To solve a bad, but thankfully small problem, we decided to take a sledgehammer to it.

One can always kill flies with sledgehammers. It’s very effective. It will kill the fly. But in the process the damage that is done is far worse than the problem that it solves. To protect our kids we take sledgehammers to them and smash their lives.

Consider what happens today to the sexually inquisitive young. The intruding adult feels compelled to take this private matter and make it a case of the criminal law. The sledgehammer is called in. No matter that no violence or threats were used. No matter that both “victims” were very willing partners in crime.

In our new bizarre world of sexual offender legislation each child is a victim and a perpetrator. As the victim, they get no help, of course. The victim status is the excuse needed so that the sledgehammer may be used on the other child. But each also becomes a perpetrator. They will be arrested; they will be forced into court. They are likely to be convicted and sentenced. They may be placed into the various prisons for children that have been established—places where they will learn what unwilling, sexual attacks are really like. They will be tortured by therapists and eventually released—maybe. Even that is no longer guaranteed under our sex panic. Today, someone who has served their sentence can then be held in preventative detention for the rest of their natural life because the mob demands it. And the politicians give the mob what it wants.

If our children happen to be released then the real torture begins. They are branded by the cruel laws that opportunistic politicians imposed to satisfy fearful voters. First, the child will be photographed. His or her photo will be published for the world to see, much like the poor boy above. The government hit lists, called sex offender registries, will tell any would-be vigilante where to find this child. The address will be given, if the child is lucky enough to be able to live at home, and not institutionalized.

The sex offender laws will kick in and are guaranteed to destroy any ambition your child may have for success. Any attempts to better themselves, or become productive members of your community, will be throttled by these laws. Every road they try to pursue will become a dead end. It may be impossible for them to finish school. Any job they seek will require them to reveal their “sex offender” status to their employer. Any curious neighbor can find out the “crime” that was committed, though not the circumstances. Years down the road, this child, now an adult, will be listed as someone who committed lewd acts on a child. People will imagine an adult raping a child, not two children playing doctor.

Each time the child moves the police will help him feel welcomed by handing out fliers to the neighbors warning them that a “sex offender” is now living nearby. Rocks thrown through windows can be mild compared to some welcomes that are given. One young man in Maine, opened his door to be executed on the spot, by a stranger. His crime was that he, as a teen, had sex with his girlfriend. In puritanical America that is enough to make him a sex offender. For that he was murdered with his mother only a few feet away. In jurisdiction after jurisdiction an “offender” will find that most of the community is zoned off limits to him. He can’t live too close to a school, too close to a park, too close to a bus stop, too close to…., the list is almost endless and growing all the time.

Every so often he will be required to visit the police and report to them. They may show up at his home anytime they want and demand to inspect it. He could be banned from social networking websites, or from the Internet completely.

If your child grows up to have a family, a normal relationship will be forbidden. He may well be banned from all activities at his children’s school. They may be in a play; he won’t be allowed to watch it. If the kids play on a sport’s team, their father won’t be allowed to attend. Ditto for Little League. Forget having friends over for a birthday party. Dad is a pariah until he dies and his children, and his wife, will be forced to endure the torture with him.

The lucky ones barely manage to hold on. Those who are not so lucky simply end their lives. Others have the option of suicide robbed from them by vigilantes. They quickly learn to give up ambitions and dreams. To excel in life is not possible. To merely survive is hard enough. And some, robbed of all normality, robbed of all hope, mentally and emotionally raped by the state, decide they may as well become the monsters that they are imagined to be.

It takes so little for this happen to a child. A girl in school has oral sex with a boy in school. She becomes a sex offender for the rest of her life. Streaking a school event, as a practical joke, becomes a sex crime in the new America. Two kids “moon” a passerby and are incarcerated in jail as sex offenders. A teenager, who takes a sexy of photo of him, or herself, is paraded around the community as a “child pornographer” for the rest of his or her life. Two kids in the back seat of a car have fumbling sex. The law says one is an offender because the other is a “victim.” One week later, a birthday passes, and it is no longer a crime. One week’s difference and a life is ruined. In other cases an act that is legal on Monday is illegal on Tuesday because the older of the two turned one year older. That becomes enough to qualify him, or her, as an offender.

These laws are not so much protecting children from predators as they are turning them into predators. Look at this chart (see note at bottom of article). This is an age chart for individuals who are legally defined as sex offenders. When you look at the ages of the offenders you see that 14-year-olds are apparently the most sexually dangerous group in America. The rate declines from there, but throughout adolescence the law is far more likely to deem kids as offenders. You may imagine the dirty old man down the street. But with age people are less likely to “offend”. One reason is that they are more mature. But another reason is clear. Once you reach a certain age, having sex with people your own age is not considered a crime. The explosion of “youthful sex offenders” is not the result of our kids becoming perverts. It is the result of the law criminalizing what is a normal part of growing up.

These kids are criminals, not necessarily because they violated the life, liberty or property of another person. They are criminals because the politicians defined them as criminals. These damned “family values” conservatives, and compassionate feminist Leftists, who banded together to “save the children,” turned America’s kids into sex offenders by fiat. And they feel good about it. They are satisfied by it and only wish more had been rounded up earlier. The Left wants everyone in therapy and under the perpetual care of the state, and the Right wants everyone in prison, or in fear of the law, and under the thumb of the police. And that is what is happening.

Don’t think you can even explain to your kids all the ways in which the State can turn them into sex offenders. I doubt that even a qualified attorney can do that. The laws are constantly changing, usually for the worse. The mob brays for ritual sacrifices and your child is the Isaac they want placed on the altar. They will only be happy when they see the knife plunge downward, hear the tortured scream of the child; watch the blood drain from the trembling body. Then they will be satiated, until the next Isaac comes along. Unlike Jehovah, the political mob will not stay the hand that holds the knife. They will, instead, demand bigger knives, sharper knives, and more stabs into the heart, more children on the altar, even more altars. They want someone to suffer. After all, we have to protect the children.

Damn them all. Damn John Walsh and his perverted justice. Damn the politicians who don’t give a fuck about hurting kids so long as they can win votes. Damn the hysterics in the churches, the media and the special interest groups, who preach fear to terrify the mob into searching for monsters. Damn them all. If they really want to find the monsters they only need look in the mirror. Me, I can barely look into the faces of these victims of the American witch-hunt without breaking down.

Note: These photos are real. They are kids who are marked for life and displayed on the internet, by our government, for every vigilante to hunt down. Look at them. Look at then closely. They could be your kid, your neighbor, your nephew, your little brother, or yourself at a younger age. Why do we let this happen?

UPDATE: A film producer has expressed interest in a documentary based on the accumulated evidence that this blog has produced on these sorts of cases. (This wasn't our first article on the topic just the most read one.) The estimated cost to produce a documentary on this horrendous situation is about $100,000. If you would like to help fund the film, or if you have a story that should be included, please contact the film company at documentarykids@gmail.com.

First, I want to recommend some books for those interested. You can click on the link and order them online if you want. (We have deleted all links to Laissez Faire Books as they were taken over by conservatives with views that we feel are bigoted in nature. We can no longer recommend them.) First is Harmful to Minors by Judith Levine. The book covers some of the areas discussed in this article and a lot more. Next is Dr. Richard Epstein's book, The Case Against Adolescence which documents how society has turned adolescents into children. He argues persuasively that most adolescents are capable individuals and that treating teens like children is unwarranted and harmful. The third books is Dr. Marty Klein's work, America's War on Sex, which covers the general intrusion into sexuality by Big Brother. Check out www.fr33minds.com for books of interest.

For a response on the impact of this article and for answers to a couple of questions, go here. A list of the numerous articles previously posted on this topic can now be found here. This is not a complete list but fairly complete and documents the claims made on this blog.

Note regarding Chart: This is to correct an error, not ours but from the Department of Justice. The chart is from page 8 of a DOJ report and is marked as Figure 6. However, in typesetting, in the report, someone had made a series of charts about the "age of victim," which appear on the preceding pages. At this point in the report the information shifts to the "age of offender" but the person who labeled the charts continued with the previous label in error. This is clear when you read the report as it specifically refers to Figure 6 as showing, not the age of victims but is a "detailed age profile of offenders." It says the "greatest number of offenders from the perspective of law enforcement was age 14 (figure 6). The frequency of offenders within age groups declined gradually with age, reaching half the peak frequency by the late 30s."

Some people have latched on to the error and are claiming the error proves that this site doctored the evidence (some people are very desparate to cling to these bad laws). However, they did not read the information which appears below Figure 6 which clearly shows it is a chart of offender's ages, not the ages of victims. An error was made but not here. I should also note that one person is running from site to site, which mention this article, and telling people there that the DOJ reports says statutory offenses are not included in these reports. That is not true. In the comments section I quote from two different passages of the report clearly indicating that statutory offenses are included, contrary to the claims by this person. However, even though they were given exact quotes from the report they still persist in misreporting what the contents of the report.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Atlanta's police chief tries to excuse illegal searches.

Earlier this week we reported on the police invasion of a gay bar. One problem, in reporting the case, was that the police couldn't seem to settle on a story as to what happened. Now they have And it's full of holes.

Police Chief Richard Pennington has done what all police chiefs do when their officers do something wrong. Defend them, pretend it was all fine, and hope it will go away. Obviously the next tactic is to "investigate" the officers before exonerating them.

According to Pennington police officers claimed to have witnessed illegal activity. The "illegal activity" they claim was to have seen patron's having sex with one another. The real problem is that NO ONE was charged with anything like that. Surely if undercover police officers witnessed such an incident, right before their eyes, they could conduct an arrest. But they didn't. Not a single patron was charged with any such thing.

Instead what the police did was send in nine undercover cops who were later joined by a dozen more uniformed officers along with a dog unit. The police showed up with three jail vans, clearly anticipating arrests of lots of people. The police allgeded that their investigation began because of claims that drugs were being dealt in the bar. Again, NO ONE was arrested on drug charges either.

When the police arrived, without any warrant, they forced all 62 patrons in the bar to lie on the floor while police illegally, and without permission, searched through each person's pockets looking for the drugs that they claimed were there. NONE were found. Then the identity of each person was recorded, even though they were not charged with anything or had been suspected of a crime, before they were released. People were detained for several hours though they had done nothing wrong.

The only charge the police could find was to claim that men dancing in underwear qualified as a "adult entertainment" which requires a license. What bullshit! A lawyer says that patrons "were not free to go. There was no suspicion any of them had committed a crime. This is unbelievable." So far ten of the people detained illegally have filed complaints against the police department.


Monday, September 14, 2009

When politics determines crowd size.

When the major media outlets fundamentally ignored the massive rally against Obama they were sure to ignite a controversy. But when they started bullshitting the public about how many people attended they poured fuel on the controversy they lit.

Earlier this week we provided some fairly convincing video evidence that the crowd was much larger than what biased publications like the New York Times reported. The only honest estimate was from MSNBC which estimated a few hundred thousand. And that number really does make the most sense.

I wondered how the media treated the beatification of St. Barack. So I checked. Certainly aerial photos indicate crowds of similar sizes at both events.

The LA Times claimed that 1 million attended Obama's elevation to sainthood. CNN said it was 1.8 million. The Chicago Sun-Times was touting 5 million as a possibility. The Miami Herald said it was 1.5 million. The crowd size was widely reported and seemed to grow with each retelling of the story.

I'm trying to figure out how crowds that are a far more similar in size than different could be 30,000 in one case and 2 million in another. It is 2 million when it comes to an Obama worship session but only 30,000 when it is evil protesters committing the sin of heresy and questioning the divine status of the political messiah. To quote the Church Lady: How convennnnient!

But draw your own conclusions. Here is a satellite photo of the Obama beatification. Blow it up to full size by clicking on it. What look like brown collections of ants are the crowd. You have a large group immediately in front of the Capitol. On the other side of the pool you see a much smaller crowd. The mall is made up of eight squares leading to the Washington Monument. The crowds are clustered in the centers of the squares which are where video monitors were placed. But if you look at the crowd from the Capital to the Washington Monument it is large clusters of people. It is not filled with people. (Click to enlarge.)

Note: There was a photo here that various news sources said were the DC rally but which appears to be a photo of a different rally. I have removed it. What I am including is the video which is undeniably taken of the crowd as they are marching to the rally. I will include some analysis below.

Notice the size of the crowd for a photo which is clearly of this rally and not any other. That is the Washington Monument off in the distance.

The second photo shows people arriving at the rally. Please note that off to the right is Pennsylvania Ave. The march came down Pennsylvania and then emptied into the National Mall. If you check this photo you will see the crowd still extending toward the White House.
At this point, without everyone having arrived we see that the area between the reflecting pool and the Capitol steps is full. We also see that the area in front of the American Indian museum is almost full. That museum can be seen on the left. At this point the lawn in front of the Capitol is basically full and between the Reflecting Pool and 4th St., the Mall is almost full with a large number still coming down Pennsylvania. It also appears that a large number of people are walking up Madison Dr. the road directly to the right of the Mall.

If you are not familiar with the area here is a satellite map from Google of the area along with street names included.

View Larger Map

Last year, during Obama's elevation to sainthood, USA Today published this schematic of the area. It said that the Park Service estimated crowd size based on areas that were filled. Here is what they published long before this rally was even conceived.
Notice the area that is highlighted with an estimate of 240,000 people. That is the area the above photos indicate were filled by the rally. Even if we assume they aren't tightly packed or that some areas are not completely full, we still have that huge crowd on Pennsylvania (and perhaps Madison) who have yet to reach the rally. According to this schematic, prepared for Obama's inauguration, it would appear that a reasonable estimate for the crowd size was in the range of 200,000. MSNBC said a few hundred thousand. Matt Welch at REASON, said the crowd was in the healthy "six digits." I argued that based on what was available the size was surely somewhere between 150,000 and 400,000. My low estimate was 150,000. It appears more reasonable to say the low estimate was off. I think it safe to narrow the range even further. The crowd size seems to be between 200,000 and 300,000, depending on how many people are still marching to the site, when the one photo was taken. My most limited gueestimate would be between 200,000 and 250,000.

Nothing supports the claims of the Left that the audience wasn't above 70,000 and could be as low as 30,000. All the clear evidence indicates a crowd much larger than that. Clearly the estimates from the Right, that is was over 1 million is wrong. But equally as clear is that the Left is also intentionally ignoring the evidence in order to dismiss what they don't want to face.


The pieces don't seem to fit.

Right-wing Catholic writer, Mary Eberstadt, has tried to explain the rise of secularization in the West. And she tries to do it and promote a Catholic view of things at the same time. Having babies is important, it is the only justification for sex, according to the Catholic sect. She argues that secularization of a society follows the decline in population growth. As people stop having more and more babies they cease to be religious.

Because families are smaller today than they used to be that is promoting a change in beliefs. Her evidence, in my opinion, is pretty flimsy. She also assumes that a smaller family is a "decline of the family." Big Catholic families ("every little sperm is sacred" - see video below for fun) would be described as a successful family. Having fewer children is not the decline of the family. It is just smaller families. People stil have families. Even just a couple who love each other are a family. But the Catholics are quite obsessive about reproducing—odd since their priests are so bad at it—though not for a lack of trying in some case. But altar boys just don't get pregnant.

Eberstadt theorizes that family sizes fell in Europe and then religion declined as a result. And, this is pretty much true. But corrallation is not causation. She says: "In France, for example — where secularism has been a ferocious social and political force for centuries — people generally stopped having babies much sooner than they did elsewhere on the Continent."

So, she assumes the one causes the other. And then to prove it says: "Once we allow that family decline is at least partly responsible for religious decline, we can do a better job of explaining the 'exceptions' in the literature than does secularization theory itself. Specifically, we can explain the largest problem that has bedeviled the theory all along: i.e., the difference in religiousity between Europe and the United States."

This is Eberstadt's proof. Since the U.S. is more religious and has higher birth rates than Europe then "changes in marrying and having babies are helping to drive changes in religiosity..." She claims that: "While fertility has plummeted in most of the rest of the industrialized world, to take one example, in the United States it remains the same, even registering a slight increase."

According to the The World Factbook, compiled by the CIA the fertility rate, that is the average number of children that a woman will give birth to in her lifetime, is 2.05 for the United States. For the "secular" French it is 1.98. The difference is rather small. So the drop in French fertility rates, as compared to the U.S. is all of 0.07. Basically that means for every 1 million American women there are 2,050,000 births and for every 1 million French women there are 1.980,000 births. Is a birth difference of just 70,000 per million women enough to drive the French to secularism while Americans are religious?

It is also curious, if the CIA numbers are correct, why cultures that are far more secular than the United States can have higher fertility rates? For instance, Greenland, a Danish outpost, has a birth rate of 2.19. The difference between Greenland and the United States is much greater than the difference between the United States and France (0.14 vs 0.07). If family size drives religiosity to some degree then we would have to presume that Greenland is even more religious than the United States. Unfortunately, for the theory, that isn't the case.

Another example is New Zealand. The fertility rate in New Zealand is 2.1, which is higher than in the United States. But church attendance in New Zealand is on levels well below the United States. Only 7.5% of the Kiwis are in church on any given Sunday. While surveys in the United States show about 20% of the population as saying they have "no religion," the New Zealand census showed that 32% of Kiwis claim to have no religion. Higher birth rates and higher secularization.

Eberstadt attempted to explain why the United States is the exception in religious trends around the world. She assumes that is the case. I don't think so. Religion is on the decline in the United States EVEN as birth rates remain steady or, as Eberstadt claimed "even registering a slight increase." She tries to explain exceptions to one theory and offers another that has even more exceptions that need explaining.

Take Cyprus as another example. Cypriots tend to be more religious than Americans. The percentage of Cypriots who claim to be members of Greek Orthodox church is greater than the number of Americans who claim to be Christian. Yet their birth rates are very low in comparison, just 1.77.

If Eberstadt's family-driving-religion theory made sense then the following ought to be true:
• Greenland ought to be more religious than the United States. In fact, it is less religious.

• New Zealand ought to be more religious than the United States. In fact, it too is less religious.

• Cyprus ought to be less religious than the United States but instead is more religous.

Now let us look at actual trends in the United States, trends that run counter to Eberstandt's theory.

Eberstadt notes that the U.S. has relatively higher birth rates compared to the rest of the West. She assumes religion causes that. Yet Americans today are far less religious than they were just a few years ago. The number of Americans who classify themselves as non-believers has doubled in recent years even as the birth rate has not declined, as would be expected if Eberstadt is correct. The most recent American Religous Identification Survey shows that currently 70% of Americans say they are Christian. In 1990 it was 86%. That is a substantial drop in a very short time that clearly is unrelated to birth rates. The Survey says: "The challenge to Christianity in the U.S. does not coe from other religions but rather from a rejection of all forms of organized religion."

The Survey said, in a press statement:
The percentage of Americans claiming no religion, which jumped from 8.2 in 1990 to 14.2 in 2001, had now increased to 15 percent. …Northern New England has now taken over the Pacific Northwest as the least religious section of the county, with Vermont, at 34 percent “Nones,’ leading all other states by a full 9 points. Ariela Keyser who helped conduct the survey said: “The Nones are the only group to have grown in every state of the union.”
The Survey says that statistical analysis indicates that a lot of people who decline to answer questions abour religion are more likely in the "None" category. They write, "we can observe that in 2008 one in five adults does not identify with a religion of any kind compared with one in ten in 1990." Clearly the secularization process is taking place in the United States, and at a relatively rapid pace, while birth rates are not declining. This ought not be happening if Eberstadt's theory makes sense. I conclude it doesn't.

Oddly Albert Mohler, comes to the defense of Eberstadt's theory. He says: "Mary Eberstadt is also surely right." He says that American "exceptionalism" is evidence of it. Southern Baptist Mohler is actually contradicting himself. In his own blog he previous claimed that "The worldview of most Americans is now thoroughly secularized..." He claimed the church was displaced as is "characteristic of the process of secularization which has now so thoroughly alterned the landscape of American culture." He goes as far as saying that America is a "post-Christian" nation. But if America is a post-Christian nation, as Mohler claimed, then Eberstadt's theory is wrong.

Poor Rev. Mohler, whatever you think of his theology, his logic is piss poor. He wants America to be the exception to the general theory and thus highly religious in one case. But in another case he claims religion has been displaced and America is now "post-Christian." I'm not surprised he has said contradictory things. His motives were different in each case. The artilce on "post-Christian" America was the typical doom and gloom you hear from fundamentalists. His cheerleading for Eberstadt's theory however, had a different agenda.

As Mohler sees it, and perhaps as Eberstadt does as well, this theory supposedly proved "the importance of preserving family structure and high rates of childbirth in light of spiritual commitments." When fundamentalist talk about "preserving family" you know that an old-fashioned gay bashing isn't far behind.

As Mohler wrote himself, America has entered a "post-Christian" era. Apparently he thinks America is still the "exception" to secularization while being a shining example of secularization simultaneously. It is one thing, and it's complete opposite, at the same time. In other words: A is not A. Now you know why I say he is poor at logic.

Both Mohler and Eberstadt have religious agendas. That's fine. We know they have them. But I think it is clear that they are trying to interpret reality to fit with their religion. Unfortunately for them reality doesn't work that way. It is what it is. Perhaps in Mohler's mind A can be non-A but in the real world A is A.

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