September 16, 2003

Stupid Conservative Myth #2

Here's the second in the list of stupid myths about liberals propagated by simplistic dittohead conservatives. You know, I do realize that most of these points are so silly that it's like knocking down a straw man, but the scary thing is, there are a *lot* of people out there who base their entire political philosophy on crap like this, so I think it is worthwhile to take some time to formally expose it:

Liberals believe that the same teacher who can't teach 4th graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

So I guess the gist of this one is that we shouldn't teach sex education in the schools. It's not clear to me whether it would be ok in high school but not elementary school. At any rate, I think everyone agrees that in a perfect world, it would be parents doing the lion's share of the sex education and the teachers working on reading, 'riting and 'rithmatic.

And who says the teachers can't teach kids to read? Our kids' reading scores across the country seem to be more affected by social changes in the structure of the family (parents working longer, single parents, etc) rather than changes in educational philosophy or teacher competence. I think with proper support of good parents, the teachers can do an awful lot. So I would first dispute the assertion that teachers can't teach our kids how to read. Where is the data to support this ridiculous claim?

But of course that's not the root of the whole problem, which is, again, rotten parents. Whether they are rotten on purpose or because of circumstances beyond their control, the fact remains that there are a lot of kids out there who just aren't getting any guidance at home. Or they're getting really bad guidance. As a society, I think it is a bad idea to just write them off (very economically costly, too, in the long run).

This gets to the heart of my political philosophy: Give kids a fair chance. It's not a kid's fault that he/she has rotten parents. When we can reasonably help, we should do so. Spending very modest amounts of money to provide training for sex education (which I think is a *lot* easier to teach than reading not only because the kids are naturally a lot more interested) would save us from the social and economic costs of sexual problems (diseases and underage pregnancies, to name a couple) that cost a whole lot more down the road.

You want to say that it isn't the gummint's business to talk to kids about sex? Well, who the hell will do it when the parents aren't up to the task? Should the schools provide the good parents with a smooth way for good parents to avoid having their kids in the sex education classes? I could be convinced of this, but I'm not sure the cost would be worth it.

That brings us to #3 on the list of things you must believe in order to be a good conservative:

The gummint has no business trying to teach our kids anything at all about sex. Only parents should talk about sex with kids. If the parents aren't there or won't do it, tough luck for the kids. Think of it as a form of natural selection.

Posted by Observer at September 16, 2003 11:44 AM
Comments

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oof. that's so unfair to conservatives. ;) Some of them are sane and moral.

On the lines of societal interest in sex education: Safe sex *should* be taught in our schools... not "have sex" but "if/ when you do use a condom." The overwhelming reason I see? Public health.

When AIDS came on the scene (and it is, btw, a predominantly heterosexual disease... check out WHO stats), it was a few years until the folks in the US reacted to the warnings about the threat to the blood supply. A very good friend of mine's dad died in 1984 after open heart surgery. The reason? he received HIV positive blood. This was confirmed by the blood bank (at Stanford) a few years after he died.

When my friend first told me about how his dad just wasted away after surgery, I got a chill... I knew what he had died of, having witnessed several in San Francisco suffer and die from it (kids as young as 21... they seemed to die the quickest. 3 months for one guy I knew.) My friend's dad wasn't the only case of infection via the blood supply, either.

The immune suppression wrought by that disease, and the devastation to lives led to a number of homeless people with AIDS... a lovely breeding ground for the resurgence of TB in the US. I'm sure in Africa there are a number of pathogens having a field day with the reams of immune weakened folks.

So is sex education in the state's interest? If you believe that public health is in the state's interest, a responsibility we have to assign to a central authority, you have to say yes.

Posted by: JustMary on September 19, 2003 05:49 AM

or turn the con-think back on itself: If teachers can't teach safe sex, then why believe teachers can teach readin & rithmetic? Maybe the cons oppose all public 'intrusion' into kids' lives?

Posted by: no on June 14, 2004 07:23 PM

Not very many parents are really qualified to teach sex education in some aspects. It depends on whether you are talking about sex education as it relates to having sex, or sex education as it relates to learning about the various sexual organs and their functions as well as STD's and the consequences of having unprotected sex.

Liberal Democrats generally favor giving out condoms and birth control in Planned Parenthood locations as such, so in general they are saying...it's ok to have sex, just be careful.

Posted by: Huck on October 27, 2004 03:22 PM