Standing athwart the Sarah Palin love train yelling Stop!

There is so much to say about the unfolding events, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

For the moment, here’s an appalling article at Time by someone named Nathan Thornburgh who went up to Wasilla and asked the locals what they thought about the Bristol Palin situation. Note the way he seeks to banish the very notion that there’s any problem with illegitimacy. “Real” Americans from the wilds of Alaska don’t care about illegitimacy. Only effete Americans from the lower 48 care about it.

He says this, when for 45 years we’ve seen the devastating effect of fatherlessness on individuals and society. How many lives and neighborhoods have been blighted, how many people have been murdered, how many women raped, by savage young males raised without fathers. And now the Republican presidential and vice presidential candidates have put conservatives into the position where no negative judgment can be expressed about out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and the whole conservative movement, with panting eagerness, are going along with them.

Also, see James Wolcott, not previously a fan of mine, quoting me at his blog at Vanity Fair:

The Bristol Stomp
A notable exception is Lawrence Auster, a model of political and intellectual consistency who refuses to board the Sarah Palin love train with the NRO crowd and that malleable lump of Jello-O known as the conservative base….

Of course, Wolcott, a left-liberal, is praising me only because I am criticizing conservatives on this issue on which the left is intensely fired up; as I pointed out the other day, the left has been expressing a disturbing degree of malice against Palin. Yet what Wolcott says about the love train and the conservative movement is right on.

One more thing. A reader this evening told me I was a hypocrite for praising Palin and then criticizing her candidacy. Indeed, I have said from the start that I was very favorably impressed by her as a political personality. I have also said that given her family situation it is wrong for her to run for VP. It is not a contradiction to say that I admire and am intrigued by a person, AND to say, all things being considered, that it would be better for this person not to be a national candidate.

And here’s one more preview of what we’ll be discussing tomorrow. Laura W. wrote:

For the record, supervised teenagers rarely become pregnant.
- end of initial entry -

Carol Iannone writes:

I have to agree. There is no vision of social good among conservatives these days except to elect Republicans, regardless of how conservative they really are, and to bully everybody into going along with whoever is running on the Republican line, regardless of what that candidacy represents.

We hear that Palin’s as yet unmarried 17-year old daughter is five months pregnant. And we’re not supposed to talk about it because it’s a private matter. We’re supposed to think that this is something that many families are facing and we shouldn’t make anything of it. In fact, we should even be admiring the intention to have the baby and marry the father. So here the Republican Party is contributing to normalizing and accepting things that conservatives have in other contexts—outside of elections, that is—addressed as symptomatic of much that is wrong with our society. But all of a sudden, the party line emerges and everyone is given orders as to how they must discuss this, like Communists with the Hitler-Stalin Pact. And I suppose it’s not ok to ask what message this is sending to young girls, and it’s not ok to question whether the mother of a special needs infant and a 17- year old about to have a baby should even be running for vice president. And evidently it’s not ok to ask why all this has to be coming at us when we are trying to have a campaign for the presidency of the United States. No, it’s our fault if we are vexed about this because we’re not respecting the family’s privacy, even though Palin’s status as a hockey mom and mother of an infant with special needs was put forth as one of her plusses in seeking high office.

Sarah Palin is a talented and appealing politician and she has much to offer the Republican Party and the country, but it would have been better to wait and get these issues out of the way, as well as to put a little more experience under her belt and avoid the whole diversity issue as well. Starting with the Giuliani candidacy, Republicans have made a spectacle of themselves defending one inappropriate thing after another, and it’s really demoralizing. It makes it seem as if all they care about is naked power. Maybe they should just say that and stop disappointing people who were foolish enough to think they really stood for principles.

Adela G. writes:

Well, that knuckle-headed Time writer got one thing right anyway when he wrote: “The fact is, regardless of what you will hear over the next few days, Bristol’s pregnancy is not a legitimate political issue.”

No, it’s not a legitimate political issue, it’s an issue of illegitimate pregnancy—but that is a valid political issue. And even if this teen-aged mother-to-be marries the male who is presumably the father of her child, teen pregnancy and parenthood itself has its own drawbacks. I thought statistics indicated that teen moms had babies with lower birth weights and more medical problems. And even if that isn’t so, the lack of maturity of teen parents is a problem that even the Palin family’s announcement alludes to.

I notice how everyone is acting as though this girl just “slipped” with her Romeo. For all we know, she could be sexually promiscuous and even a carrier of sexual disease. Pregnancy, promiscuity and venereal diseases among teens are all big problems—and ones that affect society as a whole.

Well, add teen pregnancy to the list of things that the Obama and now the McCain camp have placed off-limits, along with race, gender, and the “personal choices” of public figures.

And notice how disingenuous it is to conflate the fact that this teen is sexually active with the fact that she will become a mother before she is ready. Once again, that blurring of the boundaries between the private and the public has disastrous results. A person could argue that two teens who are sexually monogamous and who responsibly use birth control aren’t really hurting anyone but themselves, that their sexual activity is a private matter for their own consciences. But once a teen becomes pregnant, it is a public matter. The child of that teen will be a member of society, its existence will be a matter of public record. And the teen mom’s lack of preparedness for parenthood may well become a problem with public ramifications.

It is wrong for two people to bring a child into this world before they are ready—emotionally, psychologically, physically and financially—to give it the very best parenting they can and the very best start in life they can provide. And nothing will ever convince me otherwise. What that girl is doing is wrong. Period. She lacks the maturity to be a parent; indeed, I would argue that she lacks the maturity even to be in a sexual relationship. And let’s not let the boy off the hook. Can he support the child he helped to create? How much thought has he given to parenthood? Sorry, but in my view, a “shotgun wedding” doesn’t make it all okay.

It seems we are in an even smaller minority than I previously thought. So be it.

Adela G. writes:

I’m glad James Wolcott understands and admires the thoroughness and consistency of your stance on social and cultural issues. Nor does he simply mention you, he quotes you at length. Very gratifying.

Unfortunately, he seems to approach the whole issue from the perspective of it being a Republican liability, rather than evidence of social pathology, when he asks, “What else don’t we know about Sarah Palin?”

Who cares? We already know all we need to know. She’s an unacceptable candidate for vice president, which means, of course, that John McCain, having chosen her, is an unacceptable candidate for president.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 02, 2008 01:04 AM | Send

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