Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

UK social policies undermine work and family while rewarding hedonism and sloth

Dina tweeted this article by Jill Kirby from the UK Daily Mail, which helps to show how government can punish good behavior, and reward destructive behavior – simply by transferring wealth.

Look:

Over recent decades, the British state has been engaged in a huge social experiment in which traditional family structures and moral values have been deliberately undermined by official policy.

In the name of progress, hard work and self-reliance have been punished through excessive taxation, while irresponsibility and idleness have been rewarded through unconditional welfare payments.

The destructive consequences of this approach are now becoming ever more apparent.

Britain now has a huge underclass of benefit-dependent, dysfunctional families who know far more about crime, drugs and alcohol than the world of work. Figures published yesterday revealed there are half a million problem households who, in total, cost taxpayers more than £30 billion a year through the colossal burden they impose on the welfare state, police forces and social services.

The scale of this social disaster is much worse than previously estimated. A Government study in 2011 reported there were around 120,000 troubled families — four times fewer than was revealed this week.

The cost is not just financial. With their self-centredness and disdain for the bonds that glue together civilised society, many of these families also bring misery to their neighbourhoods.

[...]When social reformer Sir William Beveridge first proposed the creation of the modern social security system in 1942, he explicitly stated that benefits should to be based on contributions through taxes and national insurance, otherwise they would simply discourage people from working and taking responsibility for their families.

But his contributory principle has long since disappeared, and we now have a ‘something for nothing’ system where those who give the least to society receive the most. Indeed, according to one official calculation, every ‘problem household’ costs the taxpayer at least £75,000 — which is more than three times average earnings.

So we have the grotesque situation where people who try to do the right thing — who go to work and bring their children up in a stable family — are punished twice over: first through the punitive income tax rates which contribute to paying for the welfare state, and second, through subsidising again the dysfunctional families that are produced by unconditional social security.

If the Government was serious about dealing with the problem, it would have the courage to introduce proper welfare sanctions to end the incentives to fecklessness. It would also provide real support through the tax system for the institution of marriage.

Sadly, the Coalition has done nothing to reverse the bias of the fiscal system against married couples, whereby married families are ruthlessly penalised by withdrawal of tax allowances and benefits, whereas support is lavished on lone parents.

And the cycle continues, because children of “lone parents” are going to be far less likely, on average, to be able to be net contributors in the society – to pay in more than they take out. It sounds so nice to redistribute wealth from people who have something to people who don’t, until you have too few people doing the right things, and too many people doing the wrong things. What happens then? I think that the responsible, hard working people will either leave the UK or curtail their productive activities. What else do you do when the government punishes you for your success and rewards other people for failure?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

On wargames, history and heroes: “this story shall the good man teach his son”

Memoir '44: Pegasus Bridge setup

Memoir ’44: Pegasus Bridge setup

Reposting this old post because Dina and I spent Friday night playing games again! And this is one of my favorite posts. Last night was Portal 2 and Orcs Must Die! 2.

Last night, I played through the Pegasus Bridge scenario from the Memoir ’44 wargame with Dina a few times. We actually played the online version of the game, using Steam. She was very gracious to play a wargame with me, which I don’t think is necessarily the first thing on most women’s lists of things to do on a Thursday night! I appreciated her agreeing to learn how to play and then playing with me several times. I think that Christians need to plan and execute more “together” activities like that – activities that involve interaction, co-operation, communication and engagement. We try to avoid doing things where we are both spectators. Playing wargames is not the only thing we do – we also do Bible study and cooking lessons (for me), for example.

Anyway, the point of this post is to express the deeper meaning behind playing wargames. I think that it is important to recognize and celebrate those who have demonstrated good character, whether it be now, or in the past. I think that it is important for us to search out the best role models ourselves, so that they will influence the way we act in our own lives. The second world war was a clear example of good versus evil. Anyone on the Allied side who demonstrated bravery and courage should be celebrated for safeguarding the security, liberty and prosperity that we enjoy today. In the case of Pegasus bridge, the hero is Major John Howard of the British paratroops.

Here is a quick re-cap of his exploits that day from the New York Times:

Maj. John Howard, the commander of glider-borne British infantrymen who seized the strategically vital Pegasus Bridge in the first battle of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, died Wednesday in a hospital in Surrey, England. He was 86 and had lived in Burford, near Oxford.

Under cover of night on June 6, 1944, six gliders carrying 181 officers and men of the Second Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry landed on the eastern flank of a 60-mile invasion front on the northern coast of France. The regiment had a heritage going back to the battles of Bunker Hill and New Orleans, to Waterloo and to World War I. Now its soldiers were in the vanguard of the invasion of Hitler’s Europe.

Major Howard’s D Company was ordered to seize two bridges, one over the Caen Canal and the other spanning the parallel Orne River. If the Germans held on to those bridges, panzer units could move across them in a counterattack isolating 10,000 British paratroopers jumping behind the British invasion beach known as Sword, where infantry forces would arrive at daybreak. And Major Howard’s men sought to strike swiftly to prevent the Germans from blowing up the bridges if they were overwhelmed; the British needed those bridges to resupply their airborne units.

British Halifax bombers towed the gliders over the English Channel, then cut them loose.

Major Howard’s lead glider landed at 12:16 A.M., only 50 yards from the Caen Canal bridge, but the glider’s nose collapsed on impact, knocking everybody aboard unconscious for a few seconds. The soldiers quickly emerged, and over the next five minutes the men directly under Major Howard killed the surprised German defenders.

The nearby Orne River bridge was captured by other troops in Major Howard’s unit, and soon the words ”Ham and Jam,” signifying mission accomplished, were radioed to the airborne.

Two British soldiers were killed and 14 wounded in the operation.

Over the next 12 hours, British paratroopers and commandos reinforced Major Howard’s men, and British forces were able to move toward the city of Caen, their flank having been protected by the capture of the bridges.

On July 16, Major Howard received the Distinguished Service Order, Britain’s second-highest award for valor. On the 10th anniversary of D-Day, he received the Croix de Guerre Avec Palme from the French Government, which had renamed the Caen Canal span Pegasus Bridge, for the flying horse symbolizing the British airborne. The road crossing the bridge was later renamed Esplanade Major John Howard.

Why is this important? Well, it’s important to think on the things that are excellent. There are so many things in the culture that are not excellent that we are confronted with every day. We have to make it our business to do things together where goodness is celebrated. Especially when manly virtues like courage are celebrated. We don’t do that much anymore. And I think there’s a connection between wargames and Christian apologetics that we need to deliberately encourage.

Here’s an excellent passage from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” that makes the point:

This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day. (4.3.43)

This is from the famous speech in which King Henry charges his men to fight well before the famous Battle of Agincourt.

You can read more about the history of the British Airborne division and Pegasus bridge. The famous historian of the second world war Stephen E. Ambrose also wrote a history of the Pegasus bridge battle, called “Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944“. You won’t find many military historians better than Stephen E. Ambrose!

You might be surprised how many men are interested in military history and wargames, precisely because men instinctively look up to men like John Howard who embody qualities like bravery and courage. We have a dearth of moral character in this society. And we don’t do much to teach young men about manly virtues, even in the church. I think that it is important for us to think of creative ways for us to present good character to our young men. Young women should also learn about good character, because they must separate out the good men from the bad when they are courting.

Thanks to Dina for helping me to edit this post!

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Report: UK woman had four abortions before age 16 – the age of consent

From the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

A British schoolgirl had four abortions before her 16th birthday, new figures today revealed.

The unnamed teenager, who underwent her fourth termination in 2012, is among more than 200 under-16s to have had repeat abortions in the past three years.

Shockingly, a further five of these girls had three abortions

It comes amid concern that terminations are being used by teenagers as an alternative form of contraception.

In 2011, a total of 84 under-16s had abortions for a second time or more, according to the Department of Health figures obtained by The Sun.

The total rose to 89 out of 2,925 under-16s to have abortions in 2012, but fell to 68 of 2,538 girls last year.

Last night, Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said too many teenagers were having sex without thinking about the consequences.

‘Too many are being taught that they have a right to sex without consequences and are free to dispose of any unborn child that threatens their lifestyle,’ he said.

Last year, 185,331 British women of all age groups had terminations. Of these, 50 were treated for a staggering nine abortions of more.

This is a good story to send to the safe, legal and rare crowd. How exactly do you make something rare when you make it safe, legal and free? When you force other people to subsidize it.

Filed under: News, ,

Catholic doctors in the UK advised to emigrate

From The Tablet. (H/T Jay Richards)

Excerpt:

Catholic doctors who follow church teaching on sexual ethics cannot work as gynaecologists in Britain, the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) conference was told.

Charlie O’Donnell, a consultant in emergency and intensive care medicine, said the best advice he could give to an “orthodox” Catholic wishing to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology would be to “emigrate”.

Dr O’Donnell told the conference at Ealing Abbey, west London, on 17 May that a Catholic training to be a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology would soon find he or she had conscientious objections to such tasks as prescribing artificial contraceptives, giving unmarried couples fertility treatment or Viagra to gay couples.

He said that supervising consultants do not have the backup to allow trainees to opt out if they have moral objections to such work. However, conscientious objection to abortion is allowed because of specific provision in the 1967 Abortion Act.

“To be a sound Catholic regarding sexual ethics it is not possible to train as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist but this is not because of discrimination against Catholics. There is a total conflict of culture of what is good sex, a dichotomy of belief between what we as Christians believe is good overall for the individual and what secular society believes,” said Dr O’Donnell.

Last week the president of the CMA, Dr Robert Hardie sought clarification concerning reports that doctors and nurses with conscientious objections would be barred from obtaining a diploma from the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH). Medical staff normally need the diploma to work in sexual and reproductive healthcare.

The Catholic Church is an interesting case. Although some Catholics are economically conservative, by and large Catholics tend to vote for bigger government, higher taxes and more regulations. Many now think that the point of their religion is to help the poor, and there is generally less emphasis on truth, theology and apologetics than in Protestantism. Well, what happens when lay Catholics begin to think their faith is about spreading the wealth around? They vote for secular politicians who promise to do that. As the secular government grows larger and larger, there is less room for faith commitments in the public square. The very Catholics who voted for Labour and the Liberal Democrats to “help the poor” are the ones running into problems now. I wonder if they have learned their lesson.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

UK woman who had 4 abortions breaks silence to warn other women

From Life Site News.

Excerpt:

A 23-year-old London woman has opened up to the BBC about the four abortions she had between the ages of 18 and 22, in the hopes that she will convince other young women to think twice before having their own abortions.

“Lisa,” a pseudonym given by the BBC, had her first abortion at 18, her second at 21, and two more abortions at 22. At 20, she became pregnant but decided to keep the baby, and is now raising her one surviving daughter.

Lisa told the BBC she believes abortion is morally wrong, but had the abortions anyway because she couldn’t bear the thought of having four children, each with a different father.

“I was really careless. I can’t blame anyone else,” Lisa told the BBC. “I should have been more responsible, because I’ve killed a life now. And it wasn’t that baby’s fault.”

Lisa said that she was terrified the first time she went to have an abortionist end her baby’s life, but that time and repetition changed her and made her more callous.

“It does get easier with the more you have,” she told the BBC. “I know that sounds really bad, but that is just how it is.”

She said that by sharing her own experience of being changed by abortion, she hoped to convince other women to make better choices.

“I thought that if I could tell my story, maybe young women would think twice about having sex without contraception, or sleeping with guys they don’t really know,” Lisa said. “I want to tell other women that abortions aren’t just something you should do. It could change your life.”

“Lisa” also warns about the effectiveness of contraceptions:

Even though Lisa echoes the abortion industry line about contraceptives preventing abortion, she admits she was using contraception during each and every one of her conceptions – everything from the pill to semi-permanent solutions like the IUD.

“I’ve tried the pill, the patch, the injection, the coil and the implant. And they didn’t work,” Lisa said. “I bled continuously while I was on them. And the coil gave me pains, so I had to take that out after a month.”

She added, “No one wants to keep on having terminations – so I have tried different methods of contraception but they don’t seem to work for me.”

Lisa is far from alone. A telephone study of former clients by the Marie Stopes UK abortionist group found that 57 percent of those who sought repeat abortions were active users of contraception who nonetheless became pregnant anyway.

“Our research shows all sorts of women of all ages can experience repeat unwanted pregnancy,” Genevieve Edwards, Marie Stopes UK’s director of policy, told the BBC. “In the past we’ve failed to tackle this, because we didn’t want to stigmatize women.”

Edwards admits that contraceptives, particularly the short-term kind, are not as effective as many people think, and when they fail, many women look to abortion as a backup plan.

I guess in my own case, I stay clear of premarital sex for personal reasons but also because I do not want to be responsible for killing another human being just because I was looking for a good time. I think that the possible risks outweigh the pleasure I might gain. It’s important for me to foresee the consequences of my choices and avoid harming others.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

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