Sunday, October 10, 2004

I expect that American bloggers will all be writing about the second Presidential debate at the moment and most Australian bloggers (such as Mike Jericho) will be talking about John Howard's big win yesterday so I am making this blog an alternative channel today.


Below are a few excerpts from a comprehensive article on the myth that parenting has to be "just right" or the children will be permanently damaged. Just the opposite seems to be true: Children are extremely resilient. But the myth is being used as a wedge to justify ever more government interference in family life -- with children getting taken away from "inappropriate" parents being the ultimate Orwellian aim

"Did you know that there is no such thing as a 'difficult baby', only 'difficult parents', who are either 'neglectful' or 'intrusive'? And that the consequences of poor parenting can be dramatic, making a lasting imprint on our emotional wellbeing and central nervous system? The idea that we are determined by infant experiences - which can be described as 'infant determinism' - is increasingly being promoted on both sides of the Atlantic. Back in 1997, the then First Lady and now Democratic senator for New York, Hillary Clinton, drew on developments in neuroscience to set the tone for the popular debate. At a White House conference she asserted that experiences in infancy are responsible for the development of 'capacities that will shape the entire rest of their lives', and will 'determine how their brains are wired'. Experiences in the first three years 'can determine whether children will grow up to be peaceful or violent citizens, focused or undisciplined workers, attentive or detached parents themselves'.....

It does seem to be the case that for some things - such as seeing and hearing, and maybe even first language acquisition - there are 'critical periods' for development. But they are only 'critical' in the sense that a complete absence of stimuli during this period could have irreversible negative consequences. As John Bruer, president of the James S McDonnell Foundation and author of 'The myth of the first three years', said on FRONTLINE, the US flagship public affairs series: 'what we have to realise is the kinds of experience we need during that critical period is everywhere around us. It is not something we have to go out and provide children.' Similarly, neuroscientist Steve Petersen at Washington University argues that the environment would have to be very bad to interfere with a child's normal neurological development. His tongue-in-cheek advice to parents is: 'Don't raise your child in a closet, starve them, or hit them on the head with a frying pan.'

Policy advisors have rejected recent calls to discourage parents from sending their young children to full-time day-care. But this is less a result of accepting that day-care is unlikely to do children any lasting harm, and more a result of not trusting parents themselves to meet children's emotional needs. Today's cultural outlook increasingly views adults as 'emotionally illiterate' and in need of a constant helping hand from professional advisers... We are told that parenting is too important to be left in the realm of the private and personal. Gerhardt, for instance, argues that government initiatives should be targeted 'at the point where it can make the most difference' - 'during pregnancy and in the first two years of life'.. Child protection measures proposed in the government green paper 'Every Child Matters' are less about protecting a few children from serious neglect and abuse by their carers, than ensuring all parents measure up to the government's prescribed standard of parenting."

And this is how much better than parents governments can be expected to be:

"Two months after a baby suffocated under a pile of toys in a crib at a day care center while two city inspectors ignored muffled noises, the city's Health Department yesterday issued a scathing portrait of its oversight of 9,400 day care centers in New York City, calling it a bureaucratic maze riddled with problems that spell potential dangers for children. In an extraordinary self-examination, the department said its Bureau of Day Care needed reforms to expand its staff, raise training standards, tighten inspections and improve communications among its own people as well as with day care operators, parents often left in the dark about violations, and an array of city and state agencies trying to enforce a bewildering labyrinth of regulations."

And some official child abuse is not encouraging either:

"In the face of a storm of protest from father and child advocates, Domino's Pizza has withdrawn its support from a highly publicized campaign by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox which encourages child involvement in the collection of child support. Over the past year Cox has targeted so-called "deadbeat dads" in Michigan with punitive measures and billboards which feature large handcuffs bearing the slogan "We Never Treat Deadbeats with Kid Gloves." His recently announced billboard campaign encourages custodial parents to have their children draw billboard designs critical of noncustodial parents who are allegedly behind on their child support. Several advocacy groups.. have protested the campaign. A letter to Domino's from the ACFC notes that the billboard campaign "inflames conflict between parents and psychologically abuses children...common sense should tell you how psychologically harmful it is to children to ask them to draw a negative picture of one of their parents."



Andrew Bolt lists some Leftist lies: "These petitions from the Great and Good, damning John Howard, have persuaded me at last. We do indeed suffer from a culture of deceit. What finally won me was reading the name "Phillip Noyce" on the latest of these declarations -- a demand on the weekend from 40 actors, writers and directors for "truth in government". Phillip Noyce, I told my wife over breakfast. Demanding truth. Heavens. I just had to keep reading. You may have doubted that people paid to pretend or make things up are especially expert in truth, in government or anything else. But these petitioners shared no such reservations....."

Mike Tremoglie exorcises the Halliburton demon well on Front Page. One quote: "It is certainly true that during a two year period Halliburton's revenue from Defense Department contracts doubled. However, that increase in revenue occurred from 1998 to 2000 - during the Clinton administration.... In fact, the notion that Halliburton benefited from any cronyism has been poo-poohed by a Harvard University professor, Steven Kelman, who was administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Clinton administration. 'One would be hard-pressed to discover anyone with a working knowledge of how federal contracts are awarded...who doesn't regard these allegations as being somewhere between highly improbable and utterly absurd,' Kelman wrote in the Washington Post last November". But Leftists are not interested in the facts, of course. They would not be Leftists if they were.

Pajamas again! One blogger has just discovered that pajamas are an unexpected hazard.

Your government will protect you: "The Food and Drug Administration silenced one of its drug experts who raised safety concerns weeks before Merck & Co. yanked the blockbuster drug Vioxx due to increased risks for heart attack and strokes, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said Thursday. Dr. David J. Graham, associate director for science in the FDA Drug Center's Office of Drug Safety, told Senate investigators he faced stiff resistance within the regulatory agency to his findings." [Protecting their own prior approval of the drug came first, of course]

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH and SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Mirror sites here, here, here, here and here


That power only, not principles, is what matters to Leftists is perfectly shown by the Kerry campaign. They have put up a man whose policies seem to be 99% the same as George Bush's even though they have previously disagreed violently with those policies. "Whatever it takes" is their rule.

Leftism is for most Leftists a desire to sound good rather than a desire to do good

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