Ilana Mercer, June 27, 2008

“The couple was in New York and could not be immediately reached for comment,” reported the Associated Press. Who do you imagine was the object of the AP’s deferential reference? Michelle and Barack Obama? Rev. and Mrs. Wright?


The royal “couple” is Lindsey Oliver and Andrew Psalidas. She’s 17 years old, five months pregnant, and hails from Gloucester’s Hatchery High. He’s her 20-year-old boyfriend, also from Gloucester, Mass.

The “couple” has yet to provide details about their baby shower registry. But Psalidas’s father-cum-manager told clamoring media that his son would remain mum because “he’d made an exclusive interview agreement.” In the fullness of time, pictures of Pact Baby will be peddled to the tabloids.

Before going away, the inarticulate “couple” appeared on “Good Morning America” to deny a rumor spread by that knavish principal, Joseph Sullivan. Or more like Joseph Stalin. The hapless Sullivan had implicated Oliver in a very bad deed indeed. He alleged she was part of a gaggle of girls that had conspired to fall pregnant and raise children together.

Had an alien from Deep Space dropped in on Planet America during the pregnancy-pact apoplexy, he’d have concluded this and this alone: Kids having kids is not a bad thing. Kids conspiring to have kids: now that’s wicked. It doesn’t get much worse than a principal accusing kids of conspiring to have kids.

Fortunately, “progressive” America has inverted the natural order. Disapproving adults are ousted; errant schoolgirls embraced, even venerated. It was thus Oliver who got the chance to set the record straight on national television.

“No, there was definitely no pact,” she vowed. “There was a group of girls who decided that they were going to—they were already pregnant before they decided this—that they were going to help each other with their kids so they can finish school and raise their kids together. You know, to do the right thing was their decision, not let’s get pregnant like as a group.” (The CNN transcript has been cleaned-up; insert a “like” and a gormless grin after every other syllable.)

Ah yes, “doing the right thing,” preached preggie Peggy. Right and wrong are crystal clear here. Which is why the girls are where they belong—on GMA, poised for a media blitz, or even better, a book deal. Sullivan, on the other hand, is being slandered.

The principal was “foggy in his memory,” Mayor Kirk of Gloucester hissed. (Since Imus is otherwise occupied again, I’ll answer the rhetorical question he would have posed and answered: “Yes, the mayor is a woman.”)  For his part, Superintendent Christopher Farmer went to great pains to distinguish between “a pact to become pregnant or a pact because we are pregnant.”

A pact after the fact or because of it: That is the “To Be Or Not To Be” of this vexing affair.

So why would the Zeitgeist have its metaphoric pitchforks hoisted to skewer Principal Sullivan, but shower the girls with sympathy? Do the girls not attend a school where pregnancy tests have been incorporated into the curriculum? Is it unusual to see underage girls parading their bumps or pushing prams along the hallways of Gloucester High? Does the school not provide these valedictorians with an onsite daycare center?

At the heart of this homage to the Girls Gone Bad is the confusion that comes with a dialogue devoid of values. For decades, America’s progressive schools have been conducting a sick experiment in parallel parenting. Hatchery High is the payback:

It’s Rosemary’s pedagogic Baby.

In America’s progressive schools prurience and psychobabble combine in equal measures. The “open,” indulgent, non-judgmental ethic undergirding “education” delivers a meta-message. Children are titillated indirectly —they are given permission to indulge their appetites, libidinal and other, and use and abuse their anatomy with abandon. For good measure, they are equipped with a couple of cognitive tricks: Say “No.” Postpone. Use prophylactics.

This experiment must be abandoned. Let schools stick to academics; and families to raising children. When they fail, friends, family and faith-based organizations must move in to pick up the slack.

Resurrect shame—deep, abiding disgrace. While you’re at it, whatever became of the shotgun wedding? Bring back the pejorative “bastard.” I don’t like it; it’s hurtful, but it had its uses. So does hurt. With hurt come hard-won insights. The prospect of bearing a bastard once forced a parent to think: Do I want my child to bear this burden? Do I want for myself the status of an unwed, untaught mother? Expel pregnant girls, don’t cater to them and kit them out.

And shame laissez faire parents whose kids are rutting instead of reading.

How it hurt when I found out a friend I tutored math at high school was not allowed to sleep over because her conservative parents disapproved of my permissive folks. Her parents let me know, though, that they approved of me. For that I loved them.

Rebuilding moral communities begins with shunning and shaming. These are the first baby steps. Shun and shame the libertine, “Que Sera Sera” crowd—pedagogues and parents alike.


   June 27, 2008

CATEGORIES: Education & Miseducation, Family, Left-liberalism, Pop Psychology, Popular Culture