Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Sorry" Is Right

Excerpts of Megan O'Connor's column about "the latest chatter in cyberspace," from today's edition of Slate .

First excerpt:

Bloggers discuss the Senate's apology for not passing an anti-lynching law; they also tackle a proposed increase in the retirement age and a new study on virginity pledges.

So, so sorry: The Senate issued a formal apology for its decades-long failure to enact an anti-lynching law, but the fact that only 80 of the 100 senators co-sponsored the bill irked some.

Bloggers focus on the missing 20: Responding to a list of "pro-lynching senators" posted by the liberal Atrios, commenter Samurai Sam writes, "I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this. It just makes me choke to think we've made so little progress in race relations in the past 40 years. Or, more correctly, that the North and both coasts have made the progress and the South and some of the Midwest have not." ...

Listen up, Lefties. Lynching isn't a federal matter, per se. The Senate has nothing to apologize for because the Senate should never have considered an anti-lynching bill in the first place. Lynching is murder. The only time murder should be a federal offense is when it's committed in the District of Columbia or on federal property that doesn't lie within the boundaries of a State. If a State isn't granting its citizens equal protection of its laws, that's a violation of the U.S. Constitution which should be dealt with case by case. Just as the U.S. Supreme Court should be striking down anti-business State regulations, as it did before the New Deal.

Second excerpt:

Not-so-golden years: Republican senators are considering a bill that would raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 over the next two decades. The proposal was presented last week as part of a plan to ensure "greater financial solvency" to Social Security.

Supporters think it's just plain good sense: "Raising the eligibility age for Social Security really should be part of any commonsense solution," argues The Yellow Line's Alan Stewart Carl, a "former democrat and a former republican." He writes, "In 1940, the average life expectancy was 64 years while right now it's around 77Â… If we're living longer, shouldn't we be able to work longer?" Commenter Jonathan Cortis agrees: "With a combination of raising the retirement age and raising the cap on social security wages, we may just be able to bring SS back to the PAYGO system FDR envisioned."

Opponents use the chance to complain about President Bush and Republicans: "What people need to understand is that there is no Social Security 'shortfall' at all until 2042," says The Land of Ding's Andrew Dingfelder, a new blogger. " Â… The problem is that Bush is spending money like a drunken sailor and giving tax cuts to his wealthy benefactors at the same time." Other bloggers complain about New York Times' columnist John Tierney's suggestion that Americans spend too much time in retirement: At the liberal Delusions of Grandeur, Emeryroolz writes, "Tierney seems to think it's INSANE to not want to work until you drop dead? Spoken like a guy who's never done an honest day's work in his life."...

Actually, Tierney said this:
With the help of groups like AARP, the elderly have learned to fight for the right to retire earlier and get bigger benefits than the previous generation - all financed by making succeeding generations pay higher taxes than they ever did themselves.

The result is a system that burdens the young and creates perverse incentives for people to retire when they're still middle-aged. Once you've worked 35 years, more work often yields only a tiny increase in your benefits (sometimes none at all), but you still have to keep paying the onerous Social Security tax, which has more than doubled over the last half century.

If the elderly were willing to work longer, there would be lower taxes on everyone and fewer struggling young families. There would be more national wealth and tax revenue available to help the needy, including people no longer able to work as well as the many elderly below the poverty line because they get so little Social Security.

Getting that kind of system seems politically hopeless at the moment here, but it already exists in Chile. Its pension system has a stronger safety net for the older poor than America's (relative to each country's wages) and more incentives for people to work, because Chileans' contributions go directly into their own private accounts instead of a common pool like Social Security.

But Lefties don't want to discuss facts and logic. They just want to smear everyone who disagrees with their illogical positions. They want to believe that, under the present Social Security system, manna for the elderly falls from heaven, when it's actually extracted from the pockets of workers. When it comes to Social Security, Lefties are knee-jerk idiots. And that's not a smear, that's an obvious fact.

Third excerpt:

Virginity pledges: Contradicting earlier findings, the Heritage Foundation has published a study concluding that young people who took virginity pledges contracted fewer STDs, were more likely to abstain from sex; and were less likely to become prostitutes. The Times reports that other experts find the results "provocative, but Â… flawed."

Bloggers criticize the Heritage Foundation's motives and ideology. "It's not surprising that an organization dedicated to pursuing an ideological agenda might abandon good science in the name of politics," writes Publius of The Third Estate. Journalist Doug Ireland condemns the Times for failing to point out the ideology of the "oh-so-conservative" foundation. "By giving such play and credence today to this mendacious and unscientific Heritage study," he writes, "the Times is encouraging the myth that abstinence-only sex ed and virginity pledges help stop the spread of AIDS and STDs—when, in fact, the reverse is true. Shameful." Matthew Yglesias, writing at the American Prospect blog, TAPPED, further criticizes the Times, saying, "The only newsworthy information in the story is that the Bush Department of Health and Human Services has decided for some reason to start contracting out research on controversial questions to an ideological think tank that is non-partisan in name only, rather than to proper independent analysts."

Harvard's "independent," left-wing department of sociology, for instance?

Anyway, I do not doubt that "young people who took virginity pledges contracted fewer STDs, were more likely to abstain from sex; and were less likely to become prostitutes." Young people who take such pledges are more likely, in the first place, to abstain from sex, etc. Correlation isn't causation. That's all that need be said.

But Lefties get exercised about such matters because they don't want to admit the simple fact that abstinence is the best insurance against contracting a sexually transmitted disease. The "anything goes" cult -- of which the Left has long been the leading proponent -- is responsible for the decline of moral standards and for the rise of STDs. Now, there's causation for you.