Monday, May 4, 2009

Imposing Morality

Former CIA agent Michael Scheuer spares neither Bush nor Obama in this hard-to-argue-with assessment of President Obama's decision to remove "harsh interrogations" from that diminishing set of tools we use to protect our children from the grisly deaths that Islamic terrorists have in store for them:

Americans should be clear on what Obama has done. In a breathtaking display of self-righteousness and intellectual arrogance, the president told Americans that his personal beliefs are more important than protecting their country, their homes and their families. The interrogation techniques in question, the president asserted, are a sign that Americans have lost their "moral compass," a compliment similar to Attorney General Eric Holder's identifying them as "moral cowards."

Mulling Obama's claim, one can wonder what could be more moral for a president than doing all that is needed to defend America and its citizens? Or, asked another way, is it moral for the president of the United States to abandon intelligence tools that have saved the lives and property of Americans and their allies in favor of his own ideological beliefs?

Before enthroning Obama's personal morality as U.S. defense policy, of course, some dirty work had to be done. Last Sunday, Obama's hit man and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel led the charge by telling the American people that the interrogation techniques are a major recruiting tool for al-Qaeda and its Islamist partners. Well, no, Mr. Emanuel, that is not at all the case. The techniques surely are not popular with our foes and their supporters -- should that be a concern in any event? -- but they do not even make the Islamists' hit parade of anti-U.S. recruiting tools. That list is headed by Washington's support for Arab tyrannies in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, its presence on the Arabian Peninsula and its unqualified support for Israel.

Still, Emanuel's statement surely sounded plausible to Americans who have received no education about our Islamist enemy's true motivation from Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton or George H.W. Bush.

True enough. It's ironic that among the favorite complaints of the Left about the religious Right is that they seek to impose their morality upon the rest of us and have no business doing such a thing. Yet Obama ratchets up the danger to all Americans by imposing his moral beliefs concerning the proper treatment of terrorists, and that's evidently just fine with the Left. I guess whether shoving one's beliefs down the throats of others is acceptable or not depends on the belief and who's doing the shoving.

Read the rest of Scheuer's blistering column at the link.


Why Women Should Marry Young

I read once that the divorce rate for teen-age marriages is asymptotically close to 100%. I don't know if this is true, but I'm sure the rate is high nonetheless. Even so, Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas, argues compellingly that we should marry young (though not that young) and that the trend toward waiting until the late twenties or thirties has several liabilities:

The average age of American men marrying for the first time is now 28. That's up five full years since 1970 and the oldest average since the Census Bureau started keeping track. If men weren't pulling women along with them on this upward swing, I wouldn't be complaining. But women are now taking that first plunge into matrimony at an older age as well. The age gap between spouses is narrowing: Marrying men and women were separated by an average of more than four years in 1890 and about 2.5 years in 1960. Now that figure stands at less than two years.

One obvious reason for not postponing marriage is that it gets harder for women as they get older to attract men whereas it actually gets easier for older men to attract younger women.

[A]ccording to social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Kathleen Vohs, women's "market value" declines steadily as they age, while men's tends to rise in step with their growing resources (that is, money and maturation). Countless studies -- and endless anecdotes -- reinforce their conclusion. Meanwhile, women's fertility is more or less fixed, yet they largely suppress it during their 20s -- their most fertile years -- only to have to beg, pray, borrow and pay to reclaim it in their 30s and 40s.

These are just two of the reasons Regnerus offers in support of his thesis that it's in a woman's interest to marry young. You'll have to read his essay to learn the others.

Meanwhile, I should mention that one of the best books I've read on this topic is George Gilder's Men and Marriage, a work published back in the 80s and one I can't recommend highly enough to anyone interested in the sociology of marriage. Gilder argues convincingly that the revolution in sexual mores of the last fifty years has actually devastated many young women and ruined their chances of a happy marriage. It's good stuff, as is the Regnerus article.


Pigs Fly

A student sent along this pun: Fifty years ago skeptics said that a black man would be elected president when pigs fly. Well, Barack Obama got elected president and three months later.......swine flu.

Okay. I apologize.