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Dueling Health Plans Let's Talk -- Like Women

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Clintons, Baby Bonds, and Dropouts

by Christopher Chantrill
September 30, 2007 at 3:50 pm

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NEVER SAY that Hillary Clinton doesn’t listen.

Back in April 2001, just before the election, the British New Labour government under Tony Blair proposed a “baby bond” of up to $1,600 for every mother’s son or daughter. It seemed to go down well with British Mums.

So now Sen. Clinton is proposing the same thing for American Moms. But this is America, so she is proposing a $5,000 baby bond to help with college and all. No doubt it will be well received here, especially among Mrs. Clinton’s base supporters, the “women with needs.”

The “baby bond” is a little thing, not really worth getting all worked up over. But it’s just another step that encourages people look to government for support rather than to their own efforts or to their family, or to their neighbors. It makes Mrs. Clinton’s “women with needs” just a little less inclined to meet their needs through the institution of the family, the sort of family in which a married man and women provide for their children together.

If you look around you see this sort of thing going on all around you. Here’s an innocent enough item, covered in a national magazine, the October 2007 edition of the Costco Connection.

Stopping the Dropout Epidemic” by Tim Talevich is a feature about Bill Milliken and his organization Communities in Schools. Bill’s been working on the high-school dropout problem since 1977, and now he’s got a book out: The Last Dropout: Stop the Epidemic! . Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn Carter are co-authors. It’s all pretty simple really. Kids need the “Five Basics:”

  • A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult
  • A safe place to learn and grow
  • A healthy start and a healthy future
  • A marketable skill to use upon graduation
  • A chance to give back to peers and community

Says Bill Milliken: “Young people will stop dropping out of school when they receive the community support and resources they need to learn, stay in school and graduate prepared for life.” First of all you need a coordinator “inside each high school” and secondly you need to stop spending money in “a fragmented way,” and instead adopt legislation to encourage communities “to coordinate and integrate [their] resources around the schools.”

You can see what Milliken’s on about. Only 10 percent of women with at least a college bachelor’s degree get into the single-parent game. But about 37 percent of the children of high-school dropouts are raised by single mothers. You could look it up.

Bill Milliken seems like a saint, and the home page on his web site features an exquisitely beautiful African-American girl in a mortarboard with her exquisitely slim and handsome African-American parents.

As if the problem weren’t black boys in waddle-pants and fat single black mamas, boys like Mychal Bell of the Jena 6—or that other Michael, University of Mississippi left offensive tackle Michael Oher who we have discussed here before in The Heedless People Who Didn’t Care About Michael Oher.

We are not going to solve the dropout problem with fully-funded high-school coordinators or integrated resources around our schools. When 70 percent of African-American children are being born into single-parent families and 50 percent of Hispanic children likewise we cannot say, even in a comedy sketch, that with another two or three billion dollars we could really solve the problem.

You know what we are talking about: It’s the “M” word. But we won’t spell it out. Some people might call it hate speech.

You wonder: how does the collapse of the family in the lower orders compare with other world-historical moral outrages—like slavery? Think about the good old days in West Africa. You’d head out for a jolly raid on a nearby village, kill the men, capture the women and children, and then sell them to the white devils on the coast. At least you weren’t selling your own kin, your own tribe, but dangerous enemies who might one day raid your village and sell you into slavery.

But in our time we actually celebrate educated middle class government teachers and social workers who make money out of the social disintegration of the lower orders in our own country. The worse it gets, the more their budgets grow. It must take real talent to keep children illiterate and innumerate through twelve intensive years of compulsory education.

Conservatives may sneer at Sen. Clinton and her “baby bond” proposal to buy votes by giving the taxpayers’ money back to taxpayers with little pink-and-blue ribbons and bows on it. Mrs. Clinton is a politician. Why shouldn’t she try it out on American voters?

We’ll know that people are really taking conservatives seriously when writers like Tim Talevich and all the other editors of house organs like the Costco Connection wouldn’t even think of boosting yet another effort to rescue the welfare state from its death spiral.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


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Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State


Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

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Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self


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Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Society and State

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Faith and Politics

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Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


Never Trust Experts

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Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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