Government as Teacher

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We like to think we’re all independent thinkers, and we are to a point, but I’m afraid our thinking is influenced by outside powers and principalities whether we like it or not; whether we know it or not.

The government is one of those forces; it’s a teacher of sorts with great influence and I’m not talking about public school systems necessarily. Government can shape our ideas in other, less obvious ways… and ideas have consequences.

When same-sex marriage was instantly made legal in all 50 states, it gave a high level “nod” to break (or keep breaking) the intrinsic link between marriage and procreation. Once people are taught to remove the rational basis for a norm, their adherence to that norm will certainly erode.

Soon after the ruling, I remember the local public library featuring books about “my two mommies” or “my two daddies” on prominent display. I also remember a local greeting card store suddenly having a “same sex” section with the anniversary cards. I thought, “Why have a special section just for this?” There is no special “opposite sex” card section. Many of the anniversary cards are not specific about any kind of sexual preference. They say things like, “To the one I love” or “For my spouse” so why a new special section. It was as if the official federal government “go-ahead” now made it ok to push things further along. If it’s legal, it can’t be that bad and the controversy is now behind us, right?  So what will be next—a same sex section in the family planning aisle of your local drug store? I think not.

I feel the same about legalizing drugs. I’ve heard arguments on both sides, but I can remember my own personal situation as a young man in college. Back then, I could not say I was a faithful Catholic in any respect. I would drink alcohol, but stayed away from any kind of illegal drugs. I wouldn’t touch the stuff even when some of my friends did. Why not? I had no moral issue with it. I did worry what my family might think if I were caught, but the main deterrent was simply because they were illegal. I feared any run-ins with the law or anything criminal on my record. If certain drugs were legal at the time, I guarantee I would have at least tried them. I can’t say where that might have led and I don’t think I’m alone in this respect.

Euthanasia is another idea in the realm of ideas. Even where euthanasia is legal, I would classify it as something “voluntary-passive”. In other words completely voluntary, but not applauded, encouraged or coerced by the government or others. In time, it may become something “voluntary-active”; meaning still voluntary, but now applauded, encouraged and coerced. Government programs could be put in place to “teach” us what is “best”, not only for ourselves, but for our immediate families and society. As a people we have an obligation to encourage what is “right” and promote the common good. The “right to die” can now slowly morph into the “obligation to die”.

If you think this is not possible or too Orwellian, think of cigarette smoking. People are still free to smoke cigarettes today, but government anti-smoking campaigns, legislation and taxation have done a good job of breaking the will to smoke. The same can be done for those who insist on living for “no good reason”. Persistent social and financial pressure to do the “right thing” can break the will to live.

This is depressing stuff, but the reason I wanted to post about governments as teachers was because of THIS ARTICLE which gives a ray of hope in a weary world. Apparently the government of Hungary has been pushing (and thus teaching) a pro-family agenda creating an environment where marriages and families are flourishing and abortion numbers are dropping.

How so? Per the article, “The Fundamental Law (Hungary’s constitution) attaches special importance to the family, protects the institution of marriage, and states that the foundation of family lies in marriage and in parent-child relationship. It declares that Hungary shall encourage the commitment to have children.”

They do this by helping parents harmonize their career and child rearing, plus other special benefits like maternity support, paid childcare leave, family tax benefits, tax benefits that encourage young couples to marry, no-charge holiday camps for children, decreased utility costs, etc. Aside from the tax breaks, it sounds like a lot of big government spending programs, but if they’re going to spend, I’d rather it be on families & marriage as oppose to some other entitlements and special interests I can think of, but won’t mention here.

And remember… you will know them by their fruits. I found these stats from the article to be the most impressive:

                                         2010                   2017               % Difference

Number of abortions:      40,449                28,500             30% less!

Number of marriages:     35,520                50,600            42% more!

Number of divorces:        23,873                18,600            22% less!

How do these fruits compare to the fruits of our government programs in the U.S.?

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  1. This is a good article. It even has implications in my industry of nuclear energy. For decades the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency have treated ionization radiation as inherently hazardous no matter how low the dose under the linear no threshold theory. Evidence of any hormesis effect from low level radiation was ignored. Add to this the government reaction to the TMI accident – instead of explaining to people that containment worked at the failed reactor and protected the public, the government whipped up fear and hysteria over minuscule Krypton-88 and Xenon-133 releases that are dwarfed by any radioactivity coming from coal plant ash refuse. Now nuclear energy is dying and gas corporations in collusion with big government are reaping their predictable rewards. Tell people how dangerous nuclear is over and over for 60 years and the people will believe it contrary to statistics from OSHA and elsewhere that say otherwise – nuclear’s mortality rate per terawatt hour is the LOWEST of ANY energy source worldwide, including TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Don’t believe me? Here you go:

    People are so abysmally ignorant. They don’t know which gender they are. They don’t know any history prior to their birth. And they darn sure don’t know any science. But they’ll believe what big government says, hook, line and sinker.

  2. Thank you Hungary for the good example. Shame on us for not doing the very same.
    “We, the people” are everybody from George Washington to all future generations. “We, the people” all pay our taxes and deserve to be represented by our public servants, the people we elect to govern us. “We, the people” deserve objective truth, not subjective experiments, good example, not scandal, equal Justice, not partisanship, fact not opinion, and good will for the common good.
    The world is watching and learning from the United States. The world depends on the U. S. We cannot fail

  3. Hungary’s pro-natalist policies are too little, too late

    Hungary’s total fertility rate (TFR) is 1.44 live births in a woman’s lifetime; the replacement rate is 2.1. Excluding the Roma (Gypsy) population, it is nearer 1.3. The median age of the population is 41.7.

    According to the last census only 12% of Hungarians under 30 are married. More than half of Hungarian families have no children. A quarter of families have just one child, and just 15% have two or more. Dependent elderly make up 38% of the population, up from 32.5% 10 years earlier..

    The population is certain to start falling, for there are simply not enough women of child-bearing age to arrest the decline.

    By 2040, Hungary will have about 60% more elderly dependents than they do now, and about half as many young workers. Now, Hungary is not Japan; its economy will collapse under the burden of its dependent elderly, long before it new policies can start to take effect, a process that will probably accelerate as more young people join the outward flow to other EU counties, notably Germany.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, Hungary is near the top of the world’s suicide league: with other demographically challenged countries — Belarus, Japan, Russia, and Ukraine — coming in just ahead. Like some Amazonian tribes, the Hungarians seem to have lost the will to live

  4. Michael,
    Some need to hit rock bottom (or near rock bottom), before making a change. I’d say it’s not too late, because it seems they understand what’s happening and are trying to reverse it.

  5. Ben Butera wrote, “I’d say it’s not too late…”

    Given the median age (41.7), women of child-bearing age (over puberty and under 45) make up about 20% of the population a percentage dwarfed by the proportion of dependent elderly (38%). These women would have to have an average of 5 children each, just to stabilise the population at its present level.

    Nothing short of a mass epidemic can prevent the rise of 60% of dependent elderly over the next 22 years – that is a given and it would take a baby-boom of unprecedented proportions to prevent the number of young workers falling by a half over the same period.

    Even if the birth-rate skyrocketed, the number of women leaving the workforce to look after them would simply precipitate the collapse of an already fragile economy, with a shrinking workforce unable to support the burden of more children and the dependent elderly.

    Budapest, built as an imperial capital to rule an area of 25 million people, now serves a country of fewer than 10 million. There are 9.5 births per 1,000 and 12.9 deaths.

    Outward migration to other EU countries stood at 60,000 in 2011 had reached 80,000 in 2012, bring the total living in other EU countries to 239,000. This will only increase as the economy collapses under the strain and Hungary turns into a failed state.

    Hungary is in a death spiral and absolutely nothing can be done to prevent it.

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