Monday, February 16, 2009

Somewhere in the middle there is a rational approach.

There is a strong case to be made that young adolescents ought not to be having sex. That said, is adolescent sexuality one of those areas where “oughts” should not be the concern of the state. It is one thing to say that teens ought not have sex and another to treat them like dangerous felons, including jail time, for doing so.

England seems obsessed with the case of Chantelle Steadman, 15, and Alfie Patten, 13. These two moronic teens have been having sex rather regularly. Apparently it began when the boy was 12 (perhaps earlier). Chantelle gave birth to a child allegedly conceived when the boy was 12.

In what appears to be a soap opera for the trailer trash crowd two other teenaged boys have claimed that they too could be the fathers imply that Chantelle has been something of an easy mark. My suspicion, when I heard the story, was that we were dealing with England’s perpetual underclass -- the dysfunctional, criminally prone, terminally dumb who live off the taxpayers and milk the system every chance they get.

One thing people refuse to acknowledge is that the underclass don’t mind teenage pregnancy very much. It can be lucrative. They use pregnant teens as another means of securing income for the family -- income often spend on booze, gambling and drugs. Each new birth means another check from various welfare agencies. The money, I might add, is rarely dedicated wholly to the infant. It pays for the mother’s recreation, the grandparents recreation, etc. It goes into the party fund.

Patten is horrified demanding the right to take a DNA test to prove he is the father. And, then another four boys appeared saying they might be the fathers. One of the boys said: “To be honest, any one of my mates could be the dad” All in all it implies Chantelle was a slut.

Considering how most teenage boys flee at the first sign of pregnancy what is going on? One clue is that Patten’s parents have the whole situation being handled by a “publicist”. Trash publications like “News of the World” have exclusive reports which imply to me that they paid for them.

Chantelle is protesting that she loves Alfie and “I lost my virginity to him.” Whether she did or not does not limit the number of sexual partners after that fact. But she insists there was no one else.

Chantelle’s mother, Penny Steadman, apparently allowed the boy to spend the night in the same bed with her daughter and then expressed shock that they were having sex. Her defense, indicating that stupidity runs in the family, was that she asked the teens if they were having sex and they said no: “We had no reason not to believe them.” No reason! Other than that they are horny teenagers. Let us hope the infant doesn’t inherit her intelligence from the maternal side of the family.

Another boy, Tyler Baker, 14, says “It was routine for boys to stay over with Chantelle in her bed. But I only slept with her the once.” Richard Goodsell, 16, says he also spent the night with Chantelle with the consent of her parents and that they didn’t use contraception.

The local priest chimed in with additional stupid comments. “Whatever their ages, I say well done for bringing the child into the world,” said Father Seamus. No worries says the good reverend: “I expect social services will help and I would hope that they have got family and friends to help both of them.” No contraception, no abortion, no wonder the Catholic priest is thrilled. After all social services, i.e., the taxpayer, is there to support the child.

Whether this girl is able to provide mothering is ignored. Alfie was asked how he’d support the infant financially and he asked the reporter what “financially” meant. Obviously he’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier either.

One press report confirmed my immediate suspicion that this was an example of England’s welfare-sodden underclass at work. Associated Press reported that “Chantelle’s parents let the lad spend the night with their daughter, 14 at the time, at their public housing unit near Eastbourne, 70 miles southeast of London.” As for the boy’s parents his father made some remark about having a talk with the boy and seemed unsure whether he (the boy’s father) had 9, 10 or 11 children himself. And Chantelle’s father is described as “unemployed” but that didn’t stop him for having six children. The local police and child services “were offering support to both children.” The Independent reports: “The family lives on benefits.”

Typical of the underclass this is a pure moneymaking exercise. The Independent reports: “bidding wars, contracts and the promise of hundreds of thousands of pounds -- a sum many will see as a distinctly inappropriate return for a night of playing unprotected mothers and fathers. At least 15 television companies are locked in a fierce battle to make a documentary about the cherubic teenager’s young fatherhood, and media experts estimate Alfie could earn up to half a million pounds.” (That would be about $712,000.)

Already the boy’s family is in a dispute with one newspaper claiming for allegedly reneging “on a deal to pay about £25,000 for the initial photographs and video interview...” The family’s “publicist” says the family should have been paid £100,000.

The Sunday Times (London) has some of the right ideas:
When the couple were asked how they would cope financially, Alfie confessed that he did not know what the word meant. He will soon find out. Apart from tabloid cash for a part in a media freak show, a world of benefits is about to open up. We provide incentives where there should be disincentives. Instead of encouraging settled families, the welfare state rewards the dysfunctional. No wonder marriages have slumped to a record low.

The Centre for Social Justice, the think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, has catalogued the decline of family stability and the rise of the dysfunctional family. “Broken” homes used to be relatively rare; now in some areas they are the norm. One in six babies is born into a home where there is no resident father.

Showering benefits on these families is a policy of despair. Instead, the aim should be to wean people off this destructive lifestyle. The best means is early intervention to help mothers escape such an environment. Mr Duncan Smith’s commission has found that the first three years of a child’s life are crucial. Which raises the question: what hope is there for little Maisie, a child born to such immature parents? As each generation moves further away from family stability, we lumber ourselves with the enormous cost of propping up failed families and living with the social consequences. It is a grim prospect, especially as the country moves deeper into recession.

England’s underclass passes dysfunctional values from one generation to the next. With the financial benefits tied to the number of children they breed like rabbits. The boys father has somewhere between 9 and 11 children -- no one seems sure (an example of parental responsibility). The girls parents had six children. From two couples we get at least 15 and possibly more than 18 dependants all living off “benefits”.

We don’t know how many, if any, of the siblings have children as well. Chantelle is off to an early start with her first at 15. And the money is rolling in. It is coming in from the media and from the welfare state. Having children, and teaching them your own dysfunctional values, can be lucrative in the welfare state.

At the other extreme we have the U.S. system which criminalizes these teens. With the vagaries of the “justice” system either the boy, or the girl, or both, would be considered dangerous felons and “sex offenders”. They would be subjected to mandatory counseling, enrolled in “sex offender” therapy, perhaps imprisoned. It is like that one or both of them would end up on the “sex offender” registry and morons would assume that their listing there meant they were raping children as a recreational activity. They would be kept out of most employment since they would be forced to reveal their “sex offender” status. As a result they would have to live off welfare as well.

They would find where they could live tightly regulated and often find they could live no where. They could be ordered, as sex offenders, to stay within a specific community and then under local law forbidden to live anywhere within the jurisdiction where they mandated to stay. Yes, U.S. law is that irrational.

America’s puritanical Christian culture deals with adolescent sexuality as a criminal offense. England’s welfare state treats it as a lucrative hobby and easy way to gain “independence” from one’s parents.

It seems that when the state gets involved it goes to either one extreme or the other. Both approaches are plagued with problems. Somewhere between showering horny teens with cash and treating them like dangerous felons is a rational approach. But politicians find little benefit in to being rational. Either they have to play up the “poor kids, we have to help them” or “dangerous sex offenders, we have to stop them” scenario. And both those “solutions” create more problems than they solve.

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