I shall dedicate a considerable share of these my speculations to their service, and shall lead the young through all the becoming duties of virginity, marriage, and widowhood.1
Christine Kim of the Heritage Foundation recently reported on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that 40% of American children were born out-of-wedlock in the year 2008, an incidence rate that has multiplied more than seven times in less than two generations. The behavior works against economic evidence showing that upward mobility in the United States is far more likely for people who get married before having sex.2
Sexual abstinence poses no physical, mental, or emotional risks. Think about it. The worst that could happen to any male or female by not having premarital sex is the possibility of losing an abusive relationship. The late Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols, ironically, was right to say, “Sex is boring hippy shit.” It’s the type of language that might be needed in presidential policy to convince teenagers of the risks and possible consequences of having casual sex.3
Cited as strategic evidence by President Lyndon Johnson in his War on Poverty, the 1965 Moynihan Report identified a correlation between making babies out-of-wedlock and family cycles of poverty. But as Dr. Janice Irvine states in Talk about Sex: The Battles over Sex Education in the United States, it was also an era when political activists began endorsing education in America with “sexual fulfillment and pleasure for all, including children.” 4
Forty five years ago today, Johnson appeared at a ceremony for his War on Poverty and said, “There are those fearing the terrible darkness of despairing poverty.” The same statement could be made to describe many of the underage and unmarried parents trying to survive now in the United States.5
If all is fair in love and war, success in Johnson’s War on Poverty might be all the more possible with a global health policy from the president that emphasizes abstinence with additional language taken from the Art of War: “Being unconquerable lies with yourself; being conquerable lies with the enemy.” 6
1. Richard Steele, “Spectator No. 4, Monday, March 5, 1711,” in The Spectator: Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Donald F. Bond, 5 vols., ed. Donald F. Bond (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), 21.
2. Christine Kim, “What You Won’t Read in the Media about the New Birth Data,” The Heritage Foundation, http://blog.heritage.org/2010/04/08/what-you-won%e2%80%99t-read-in-the-media-about-the-new-birth-data. “Social Mobility and Inequality: Upper Bound,” The Economist, April 17, 2010, United States.
3. David Campos, Sex, Youth, and Sex Education: A Reference Handbook (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2002), 2.
4. Vincent J. Cannato, “When Problems Persist,” The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2010, A19. Janice M. Irvine, Talk about Sex: The Battles over Sex Education in the United States (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 18.
5. Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson, “President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Remarks with President Truman at the Signing in Independence of the Medicare Bill,” Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/speeches.hom/650730.asp.
6. “Sun-tzu’s Art of War,” in The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, trans. Ralph D. Sawyer (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993), 163.