Saturday, July 05, 2008

Government as Parent

Parents, or government. Which do you want raising children?
Mandatory sex and relationship education for children as young as four is needed to reduce the rising teenage STI and abortion rate, according to two leading sexual health charities.

Brook and Family Planning Association (FPA) claim the government is failing young people because they're not giving them enough information about the emotional side of sex and relationships.

Chief Executive of Brook Simon Blake says the government need to "make it part of the curriculum, signal to people that you (the government) really are serious and we will see some impact on teenage pregnancy, on abortion rates, on access to contraception".


This is exactly what happens when you expect government to "take care of people" as opposed to giving people the freedom and responsibility to take care of themselves. Notice that in the paragraphs above there wasn't one word about parents. "Mandatory" was mentioned once, though, and "government" was mentioned three times.

13 comments:

Ronnie said...

Amazingly if parents did their jobs the government wouldn't feel inclined to act as a parent. You talk of freedom but only that of the parent, a child should have the freedom of information and services that the government wants to guarantee. Parents who shelter their children are causing these problems, so as a people are we supposed to just watch parents ruin their childrens' lives or at least give them a fighting chance to make their own mistakes?

Darren said...

We've had this discussion before, Ronnie. I don't think government makes any better a "parent" than most actual parents, and just because *you* think kids should know something doesn't mean they should know it. If society is a flop, and that society elects the government, that government will be a flop, too.

Remember, when *my* people run the government, would you want your kids told what *my* people would require they be told?

I can't imagine that our Founders intended for *our* government to be as invasive as it is, much less as invasive as it clearly is in Britain. We were founded to be the "not Britain", the "not Europe", and I hope we remain that way.

Darren said...

Ronnie, do you think the government should require this because some official somewhere thinks students should know about Islam?

Ronnie said...

My position isn't that they should be told things by *my* people or *your* people, but be told facts by doctors or at least specifically trained professionals. Kids are going to have sex and they should therefore know all the consequences of having sex, and to argue otherwise is naive. I'm pretty sure that having every person informed about sex isn't going to magically turn us into Britain, but I do think it might result in fewer STDs and unwanted pregnancies. I'm not saying the government is ever going to be better than the average parent, but it should at least be better than the worst, and I happen to feel that if such programs could help any child they are worth it. You see this as giving up the parent's right to do what they want with their child, I see this as giving the child the facts they have a right to know. You can argue your side all day long, just know that you are arguing against the government providing it's people with facts, really think about that.

Ronnie said...

And with respect to your Islam link, is Islam a natural biological process for all mankind? No. Is sex? Yes. Amazing how those two things are different, who could have thought it.

Darren said...

Just recognize that you're willing to destroy the role of parents in society in order to protect a few children from the worst parents.

I'm preparing another post about government education centers and food (a biological necessity). It'll be interesting to see if you agree with it.

Ronnie said...

I don't want the destruction of the role of the parent, I want a minimum amount of information provided to all people regardless of their parents. Parents are so much more important than anything the government could provide for children. But like our public school system, society has deemed a certain amount of guaranteed knowledge helpful to society as a whole, and I believe that includes sexual knowledge as well since it directly affects the lives of everyone eventually.

Darren said...

I think parents should be allowed to teach their own children their own way.

Do you really think there's an "objective" way to teach about sex? One which the government can enforce through its education centers, but that doesn't "advocate" sexual activity?

Ronnie said...

Yes, if one teaches facts I would call that objective, you seem to think that everything must be bias if taught by the government. 2+2 still equals 4 and herpes simplex virus 2 still has an incidence rate of over 20% when taught by the government. There isn't some massive agenda to make kids have sex, the goal is lower STD rates and have fewer unwanted pregnancies. I agree that parents should teach their children what they want, but at some point the children have a right to know a minimum amount of information.

Darren said...

The devil in the details comes when trying to ascertain what that minimum knowledge is, and who determines it. Is learning how to put on a condom part of that minimum knowledge? No doubt there can be *major* disagreement on just that one point.

When I taught junior high our school had "facilitators" from some teen center come in to talk about sex with the students. Almost every year at least one person asked the question, If I have anal sex am I still a virgin? Same with oral sex. Those questions are better answered by people other than teenagers.

I know you think that if kids can't ask their parents something like that, it's indicative of something wrong with the parents and that the government should just step in and fill the void. I disagree.

Darren said...

I just read this on a different web site:

"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizens from falling into error; it is the function of the citizens to keep the Government from falling into error." --Robert N. Jackson

Ronnie said...

So if a parent is unwilling to answer questions for whatever reason, who is supposed to fill the void?

Darren said...

Ah, therein lies the heart of the matter! Neither situation (parents don't do something you think they should do, government fills the void) is ideal. However, I choose to err on the side of the parents, because the vast majority of parents take reasonably good care of their children. I don't want to detract from them because a few people are lousy parents--just like I don't want to take away freedoms from most students because a few are jerks.

Didn't you used to have an issue with too many rules being propagated by our school administration?