One mistake that’s easy to make with Bush & Co. is confusing out-and-out corruption with ideologically based silliness and stupidity. With so much of both going on all the time, if you’re not careful you can end up losing the mendacity forest for the idiocy trees.
Here’s a prime example.
(USA Today) Abstinence message goes beyond teens
The federal government’s “no sex without marriage” message isn’t just for kids anymore.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.
The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it’s a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.
“They’ve stepped over the line of common sense,” said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. “To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It’s an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health.”
Is funding abstinence only sex education for adults stupid? You betcha. Is it also evidence of the ridiculous degree to which ideology trumps reason (or even common sense) with this bunch? No doubt about it. Is that all that’s going on here? Not on your life.
It’s also an example of a good old-fashioned political payoff scheme. The Religious Right is, of course, one of the most important constituent groups within the GOP alliance. And abstinence only programs pour millions of dollars of public money into the hands of conservative faith-based organizations every year.
It’s the perfect scam: When silly legislation like this is adopted and then combined with Bush’s faith-based initiative, the money is virtually guaranteed to go to the GOP’s friends. Liberal and moderate mainline denominations, suffering as they do from the handicap of being part of the reality based world, mostly want no part of such programs. So the lucre flows to the Religious Right as inexorably as the Mighty Mississippi heads to the sea.
Of course, no actual public good is done with the money. But then that’s the beauty of being part of the modern conservative movement, isn’t it? When you don’t view the public good as being relevant to the purpose of government, it frees up the money for your own nobler purposes.
No doubt about it: Viewing the government as little more than one giant slush fund can be a truly liberating experience.