Back in my college years, I took a political science course in international relations where we studied strategic defense policy. Basically, World War 3 was prevented by a doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD. Basically the idea was that neither the US or USSR could launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike, because the other side would always have enough nukes to destroy them right back. Both countries were assured that any destruction from nuclear attack would be mutual.
Such a policy, we learned, relied upon three major things:
- Capability -- Each side was capable of launching a devastating nuclear strike after sustaining a nuclear strike.
- Credibility -- Each side was willing to launch a devastating nuclear strike, especially after sustaining a nuclear strike.
- Reliability -- Given the technological capabilities and political will, each side had command and control systems in place to assure the other side that they could and would launch. [Update note: I now recall that the term was "survivability," but the point is the same -- the policy is only as good as it works in practice, "in the field" ... or in the back seat of mom's Subaru.]
Without that third point, MAD would fall apart, so each side did regular drills, launching bomber wings, sending submarines on launch patrols and exercising the ICBM missile silo crews. (The governments made sure that the other side knew such drills were taking place, to avoid errant responses with dire consequences.)
That's what happens when life is on the line. Too bad we don't get that kind of clarity when sexual neurotics become politicians, or influence politicians.
Latest case in point: Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has just signed into law a "sex education" bill centered on abstinence.
The legislation means teachers must emphasize that refraining from sex before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. A spokesman for the governor, a Democrat, said most Wisconsin school districts already take that approach.
"The governor thinks that abstinence should be an important part of the message that kids hear from adults as part of their classes," spokesman Dan Leistikow said.
Republican Sen. Mary Lazich, a bill's sponsor, said sex education teachers can still teach about birth control, but must emphasize that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method to avoid health risks.
This is where these sex-phobes are wrong -- because abstinence is not reliable, and therefore is not effective.
Telling young adults to "just say 'no' to sex" may seem nice and high-minded, but it's not going to get 17-year-old Sally or 15-year-old Stu out of a hot and heavy "petting" session that gets out of control.
Of course, sexual neurotics believe everyone should be in total control of their sexual desires. But the simple fact of human nature is that this approach is not reliable for everyone, or even most people. Let's face it: Having sex is a major instinct, and only a pollyanna would attempt to establish abstinence as an official government policy in the name of "100 percent effective."
What's really interesting is how the neurotics are winning the argument:
The birth rate among Wisconsin teens ages 15-19 decreased by 27 percent between 1993 and 2004, from 41 to 30 births per 1,000 females, according to the most recent government survey.
So what's the problem? Things have been getting better! Ah, but wait!--
But the overall infection rate of the four top sexually transmitted diseases increased by 3 percent among teens during that time.
Ah, yes, at least the teens are being punished with diseases. The neurotics love this. I believe the Cold War analogy would be the doomsayers who want to bring on Armageddon. Nothing like a little unnecessary death to enforce one's political agenda, right?