Sunday, September 20, 2009

Feral kids and the problems they pose

The Daily Mail is running a series of articles on feral kids in Britain and the problems they pose in terms of crime, anti-social behavior, etc. Two have been published so far:

Feral youths: How a generation of violent, illiterate young men are living outside the boundaries of civilised society

Machetes by the door, drugs on the table - and mothers paid by the state to have babies with men they barely know. What HAVE we done to the British family?

I highly recommend both articles to US readers, because the conditions they describe are very visible in our own inner cities. I'll be watching for more articles in the series.

I was particularly struck by comments in the second article about the role of the welfare state in marginalizing fathers and encouraging teenage girls to have babies. A few excerpts:

So why did these women choose to have babies by a man they barely knew?

Prince, who is 37, laid the blame squarely on benefits: 'Women get money from the Government; men get eradicated. What do you need a man for? The Government has taken our place.

'I'm old-fashioned, from the ghetto, and I'm serious for my kids - but the Government is the provider now.'

Unfortunately, he is absolutely right. He may be a Peckham drug dealer, but he can clearly see what the Government has failed to register: that the benefit system is cutting fathers out of the equation.

Not only that, but it is condemning thousands more children every year to a poor start in life.

Politicians, for their part, blame the rising numbers of troubled children on the breakdown of the family and the absence of fathers.

This is a fundamental mistake: they are presuming there is a family in the first place.

Above all, the Government needs to recognise that benefits are a powerful incentive, particularly for young girls.

. . .

An overhaul of the benefit system is clearly at the heart of transforming the lives of disadvantaged children. But to accuse their mothers of being feckless is unjust: they are merely responding to the economics of the situation.

They have grasped the consequences of our poor education system better than our politicians ever have.

Last year, less than half of teenagers finished compulsory schooling with five good GSCEs that included maths and English. Of those, the ones who do worst of all are children from lowincome families.

Then what happens? The boys take to crime - and the girls get pregnant.

Incredibly, more than a quarter of British children are now raised in single-parent families - and nine out of ten of them are headed by women.

Children with one parent, according to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, are more likely to have behavioural problems, to do less well at school, have sex earlier, suffer from depression and turn to drugs and heavy drinking.

And, according to evidence from the U.S., they are more likely to get involved with gangs and crime.

Four out of ten of these children will have no contact at all with their fathers by the age of three. Indeed, for many boys, their first experience of spending any significant time with adult males is when they enter prison.

. . .

What future is there in Britain today for a girl without qualifications?

Skilled and hard-working immigrants now monopolise menial jobs, and the next step up - a job, for example, in catering or hairdressing - pays about £10,000 [about US $16,250] a year before tax.

Which is slightly less than a girl with two children receives in benefits, and without the incentive of somewhere to live rent-free.

In Streatham, South London, I overheard two young girls pushing buggies talking about a friend. 'Why she got pregnant?' asked one. 'She's got a good job!'

In other words, if you were in well-paid employment, with good prospects, there was no reason to have children.

Sir Norman Bettison, chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, summed up the situation starkly: 'We are talking here about the perverting influence of welfare. The more kids you have, the more money you get.'

. . .

Many single mothers are excellent parents, of course. But the Government has put disadvantaged girls in a position where the only career open to them, the only possibility of an independent life, is to have children - whether they want to or not, whether they are likely to be good mothers or not.

The state, as Prince pointed out, has indeed taken over the role of both husband and employer.

With a combination of financial incentives and poor schools, it is ensuring a steady supply of babies who start life with all the factors in place to become the next generation living on benefits or the proceeds of crime.

There's more at the link.

I've seen precisely the same thing here in America. A few years ago I was asked to speak to students at a high school in a city a few hours south of where I live. I got into conversation with one girl of 17. She turned out to be pregnant - with her fourth child! She'd had the first at age twelve! Why the father was never charged with statutory rape, I'll never know . . . but I guess local law enforcement was so overwhelmed with similar cases that they'd just given up. All four of her children had different fathers: and her own mother had encouraged her to have every child, because the family received over $500 per month for each child in benefits from the State!

What hope do those four kids have of growing up in any semblance of a normal home? How would you feel, as a child, when you found out that the only reason your mother hadn't aborted you was that you could serve as a cash cow, bringing money into the home, which she and your grandmother would spend largely on themselves, not on you?

I know from bitter personal experience the consequences of such a culture. I used to meet them every day in my work as a prison chaplain. A very significant proportion of those kids, of any and all races, will end up as convicted criminals. They're feral, anti-social, wrapped up in a 'me first' culture that justifies doing anything and everything to get what they want, blaming their problems on 'Whitey' or 'the system' or 'racism' but never accepting any personal responsibility. And, really, who can blame them? They imbibed those attitudes with their mothers' milk!

Our inner cities mirror the British experience. Something has to be done - but as long as corrupt politicians, and demagogues beating the old, worn-out drum of 'racism', can exploit the misery of the masses for their own ends, you can bet that nothing will change.

It's a sad, sick world sometimes.



Mikael said...

That felt strange reading... I live in Sweden, a country that has pretty much since democracy was introduced has social democrats as the largest party, and though they're not in charge atm, they probably will be after the next election because the rightwingers have been dismantling the security systems.

We have decent welfare, you can live on disability(though not much more than that). I should know, I am on disability pension.

But here, the welfare recieved for having kids is barely enough to cover costs, a bit over $100 per month, and the behavior in the article just does not exist. Sure we have some young single mothers, but they're single mothers because of regular relationship issues, not because they got a kid to make money. It's not that common either. We got a bit of the opposite problem, that women don't bother getting kids until they start feeling the biological clock ticking, and then it's often too late. There was a popular swedish comedy movie a few years ago about the troubles couple go through, trying and failing to get a kid.

Anonymous said...

Slavery is alive and well. It is called the welfare state. It is a pitiful statement on our society when the Government teat is more important than our very heritage of freedom. I am currently in small town America and see it as prevalent as when I lived in a large southern border town in Texas.