Feed on

You are correct that this is a far from charitable reading, and far from the “civil discourse” that is so often talked about. Well you know what, “civil discourse” is just a euphemism for, “let’s not actually cut to the core of the argument, let’s give everyone a trophy for showing up.”  The push for “civil discourse” is in every way similar to the widespread efforts to actually stifle discourse around this country in the name of promoting some “agreed upon” goal.

Well, if no one is uncivil and no one keeps important ideas in the conscience or subconscience of folks, then there will be no good ideas to have to be uncivil about.

Take this nonsense from Ezra Klein today. Again, I like the work he does, and find his use of data illustrative and important. But this is a joke.

If America really values mothers, we wouldn’t treat them like this

Really? First, who is this “America” that treats mothers in this horrible way? Is it me? I am an American. Are you accusing me of disprespecting my mother? Discriminating against my wife? Making life awful for the women in my life? Is it you Ezra? Do you hate your mother? Do you make life difficult for other mothers? OK, then if not us, then who? Some imagined hobgoblin that is nefariously making life horrible for the women who birthed all of us?

America is, for instance, one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave.

Then look at the map.


It’s tiring to see the constant comparison of America with some enlightened Scandinavian countries, as if what “they” do should even theoretically bear any resemblance to what “we” do. But let’s play this same game. “Look, African nations all around take care of their mothers, just look at how all of them offer more paid maternity leave than America. Africa has its sh!t together, women are uniformly more respected and treated better there.”  It’s easy to play these games. And that’s really all they are, games. There is not a shred of serious analysis in any of it.

And please do tell me, how does a government mandate of paid maternity leave mean that “those countries VALUE mothers more?” Really, tell me. And what is most nauseating of all about reading articles like this, is that they come from the same websites and worldviews that condemn the existence of so many people on this Earth. We get fed impalatable article article after article telling us about all of the damage that humans do to the planet, all of the problems wrought by overpopulation, and now we are aghast that “we” in America don’t give a sh!t about mothers? You’d think the alarmists who pen these pieces would write a piece arguing that America is the most enlightened place on Earth! After all, we are going to forge ahead and unilaterally make it a hell of a lot harder to use coal in this country even though the rest of the globe is going to continue burning it. And that is indeed a good public health measure even if it has no impact on global warming. So how come we are not celebrating America taking the lead on making it less hospitable for families to reproduce here? And don’t go blowing that, “well, it’s just different” smoke up our behinds.

Back to some more of the nonsense:

The US doesn’t even ensure that parents get leave that they can use for child care. For instance, a lot of parents (sadly) use vacation days when they need a day off to care for a sick child. But in the US — unlike in every other developed nation — there is no guarantee of paid vacation days:

Never mind that we live in a free country. Never mind that employers and employees (and the self-employed of course) are perfectly capable of negotiating benefit packages and job flexibility to make this as much or as little desirable as people want. If you asked people in Europe if they value the paid leave versus the cash compensation that it is displacing, I wonder what they would tell you? Furthermore, is there any mention in this article that maybe there are some unintended consequences and costs of mandating and guaranteeing paid leave? After all, the article does take some pains to point out that there seem to be direct penalties in America to women workers for each child that they have:

Meanwhile, mothers face constant job discrimination outside the home. After controlling for pretty much all the factors you can think of, researchers find that mothers face a five percent wage penalty for every child they have. The reason may be no more complicated than that they’re mothers

Gee, let’s think on this. So, how does making it even more difficult and more costly to hire mothers actually improve the chances of mothers to not be discriminated against? For fun, go look at what the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act has done to the employment opportunities and discrimination against Americans with disabilities. Why would we expect the outcome to be any different for mothers?

In any event, the piece says nothing at all about how much “we” respect or value mothers. This is an entirely personal and individual conception that cannot be gleaned from examining national mandates for how particular employers are supposed to treat mothers. The article closes:

If we really value mothers as much as we say we do, we’ve got a long way to go to show it.

The left has truly jumped the shark. The only way to “show how much we value” anything is to examine public policy toward it. What an absolutely depressing way to look at the world, and to be quite honest, a pretty scary one as well.

As you can see, I am increasing in my bellicosity, which means that my self-imposed removal from reading the news for the first 4 months of this year probably was well-advised. I think I’m heading back into hiding.

2 Responses to “This Vox Post is Just Plain Poppycock”

  1. Harry says:

    Yeh. Iran provides maternity leave, same as Russia and Manchuria and Cuba. It is time we get our act together and give unwed mothers in selected cities the same pay mothers get on maternity leave in, say, Cuba.

    This is the equivalent, nearly, of saying that the directors of my choir should have their directors’ fees doubled, only women do not get stoned (not Colorado stoned) for getting uppity like war criminal Condoleeza Rice.

    Not to be critical, but Vox provides WC with easy material.

  2. cswaters says:

    This is anecdotal so take it for what it’s worth. For eight years I worked in one of the enlightened Central American countries that value mothers more than the US. Mothers’ receive three months of paid maternity leave but with a doctors note a woman could get an extra three months before the birth for ‘bed rest’ because of the stress (most of the women sat at a desk all day and earned 2x to 3x the national average) and three months after birth for more rest, nine months all paid time. The doctor notes aren’t hard to get and not surprisingly most women need extra time. If they ever come back to work after the leave many of them would bring in yet another note for breast feeding time, which was 90 minutes every day they worked. Breast feeding breaks are separate from lunch break and don’t require the baby be there. Mothers often take this extra break for up to a year.

    Plenty of woman (who prefer not to work) decide to look for a job the moment they find out they’re pregnant and quit when they should come back to work — all at the expense of the company. Every worker gets severance pay when fired but firing a mother (pre or post birth) costs 4x to 8x as much as a regular employee (sometimes thousands in a country where the average weekly salary is $180). Workers know this and it’s not unusual for a soon to be mother to refuse to do work or come in on time (especially if they just got the job for the benefits). I can’t begin to explain how destructive this to a company. Unfortunately, this is just one of the many anti-business practices the state shoves onto business owners.

Leave a Reply