Wednesday, February 14, 2007

from the mouths of babes

(cross-posted at daily kos)

from today's "grim" new unicef report on child welfare in the the top 21 industrialized nations, in which the netherlands and scandinavia came out on top, while the united states and britain sat "roundly bottom":


peter marshall, narrator: in the netherlands, home of liberal views on sex and drugs, their young people rank at the top of unicef's survey for well-being. we went to a school in the heart of amsterdam to talk to sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds.

laura vos, student: in this country it's very free. you can do what you like, you can smoke when you're sixteen, you can buy pot in the store next to the school —

[laughter]

because it's not illegal, it's not that interesting for us to just — to provoke our parents with.

are you listening, mr. social conservative, mrs. moral majority, uncle christian coalition and auntie no-child-left-behind?

probably not.

still, miss vos does leave us with an interesting question: just what do dutch kids have to do there, to provoke their parents?

overall rankings from the report:
1.netherlands
2.sweden
3.denmark
4.finland
5.spain
6.switzerland
7.norway
8.italy
9.ireland
10.belgium
11.germany
12.canada
13.greece
14.poland
15.czech republic
16.france
17.portugal
18.austria
19.hungary
20.united states
21.united kingdom

all kidding aside, it is of course simplistic to attribute the success of the dutch solely or even primarily to its liberal attitudes. after all, a number of conservative and strongly religious nations like spain, italy and ireland made it into the top ten.

but what's noteworthy is how the report discredits the long-standing conservative-religious argument that morally permissive societies are dangerous to its children's moral and physical well-being. presumably this is the argument propping up their endless campaigns against hollywood, music, drugs, sex education, birth control, abortion, and the rest of their entire program. it's all about saving the children, don't you see?

and uncle christian coalition and auntie no-child-left-behind would have us all believe that only a strict country devoted to dogma can protect the young, not that a "decadent" country like the netherlands could ever rate such a list, much less come out on top.

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