Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Children's Crusade

There's plenty more where they came from.

Conservatives preach that we need to do everything possible to care for the all of God's little children, from eradicating divorce to demanding that all parents are married to ensuring that parents will always be encouraged to pull themselves and their children up by their own bootstraps. Strangely, they do not mention one group of Americans whose children suffer as much, if not more, than all those ungodly liberals who don't care how their policies affect The Children. From The National Center For Children In Poverty at Columbia University:

More than two million American children have had a parent deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.14

  • At least 19,000 children have had a parent wounded in action.15
  • Over 2,200 children have lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan.16

Impact of Deployments on Children’s Mental Health

Children in military families experience high rates of mental health, trauma and related problems.

Military life can be a source of psychological stress for children. Multiple deployments, frequent moves and having a parent injured or die is a reality for many children in military families.

Wartime parental deployments can be one of the most stressful events of a child’s life.17

  • Changes reported included changes in school performance, lashing out in anger, worrying, hiding emotions, disrespecting parents and authority figures, feeling a sense of loss, and symptoms consistent with depression.18
  • High levels of sadness were seen in children in all age groups.19
  • Depression was seen in about one in four children.20
  • Academic problems occurred in one in five children.21
  • Thirty-seven percent of children with a deployed parent reported that they seriously worry about what could happen to their deployed caretaker.22
  • Parents reported that one in five children coped poorly or very poorly to deployment separation.23
  • Media coverage of the war posed a significant source of stress for children and makes it much more difficult for children to cope with a parent’s deployment.24

Length of deployment was associated with mental health problems including depression, acting out, and externalizing behaviors.25

What Service Use Data Show

Service use data also indicate high need for mental health services and supports among the offspring of military personnel.

  • Outpatient mental health visits provided to children of active duty parents doubled from one million to two million between 2003 and 2008.26
  • Total days of inpatient psychiatric care for children of active duty personnel 14 and under increased from 35,000 in 2003 to 55,000 in 2008.27
  • One-third of children with a deployed parent were at “high-risk” for psychosocial issues.28

Factors associated with the negative impact of deployment on children and youth include age, the mental health of the remaining parent, re-integration, and employment status.

Age as a Risk Factor

Current research shows that a child’s response to a parent’s deployment varies by age, phase of deployment, gender, as well as other family factors. The research is mixed: but the stress of war affects children even prior to their birth.

  • Wives of deployed personnel experience more stress, a factor known to increase risk for medical complications of pregnancy.29
  • Children ages 3 to 5 with a deployed parent exhibited greater behavioral symptoms than did peers without a deployed parent.30
  • Children of military families ages 11 to 17 were found to have a higher prevalence of emotional and behavioral difficulties than children in the general population.31
  • Parental deployment places school-age children and adolescents at higher risk for a range of adverse mood and behavioral changes: anger, apathy, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, decline in school performance, loss of interest in normal activities, and social isolation.32
The war bloggers have all moved on to better, if not bigger, battles, such as the War on Women and the War on the Poor. They have carefully mended their reputations with belated horror or shrugged off the past or moved on to the next war. Authoritarian leaders and followers love war because it gives them power. They will not give up that chance to grab more power without a fight.

But a war orphan never forgets, and some never forgive. And it's not a good idea to fight someone with a soldier's blood in their veins.


Batocchio said...

Silly! The conservative commitment to life ends at birth. Social control is more important than life! And they're not "war orphans," they're "freedom orphans," as long as they look great in Republican ads.

(Thanks for the stats.)

Meanwhile, in a shocking development, Ross Douthat remains an authoritarian.

Susan of Texas said...

That's an interesting conversation; thanks for the link. To make his argument Douthat has to ignore the Old Testament. If God is the embodiment, so to speak, of morality, then what about all those deaths he committed or had others commit?

"Indeed, it’s completely obvious that absent the Christian faith, there would be no liberalism at all. No ideal of universal human rights without Jesus’ radical upending of social hierarchies (including his death alongside common criminals on the cross). No separation of church and state without the gospels’ “render unto Caesar” and St. Augustine’s two cities. No liberal confidence about the march of historical progress without the Judeo-Christian interpretation of history as an unfolding story rather than an endlessly repeating wheel."

Oh for Christ's sake. That's just ignorant and nonsensical.

"And what’s more, to me, contemporary liberals’ obsession with the supposed backwardness of Christian sexual ethics—an obsession that far outstrips sex’s actual role in the preaching and practice of Christian faith—reflects a subconscious liberal knowledge that Christianity is their theological mother, and they’re its half-rebellious child."

Catholicism claims that sex between men and women exists purely so they can be a vessel for God's life-giving force. The church defines sexual identity. The church uses sexual politics for control. Nobody is more obsessed with sex than the catholic church.

"You can see in it the child’s characteristic desire to finally overthrow the last bastion of parental authority, joined to a continued desire for the parent’s approval for their choices and beliefs."

He'll always see a childish dependence on obedience to authority as a good thing.

Susan of Texas said...

It really is astonishing how our pundits are just wrong all the time but it doesn't matter. As long as they have at least three quotes (usually from Burke, Orwell and Aquinas) and use polysyllabic words they can say any stupid thing they want.

Downpuppy said...

As usual, your intensely moral posts leave me shuffling feet and muttering "Well, yes"

So I flee back to the familiar Land of Dumb.

After Dr. Manhattans lobbying - tell me if you doubt that he paid for the space - - Megan has brought in a boring law professor to bore us on environmental law.

There won't be much left by the time she gets back.

Batocchio said...

Good points, Susan. I keep coming back to this issue as "religious narcissism." To paraphrase what I wrote elsewhere recently, it's where Ross Douthat (like Bill Donohue, Kathryn Jean Lopez, and Elizabeth Scalia "the Anchoress") believes that everyone at heart is truly a socially conservative Catholic well aware of their sins against the will of Douthat/Donohue/Lopez/Scalia. Considering that several Protestant denominations (or at least congregations) make a point of going over the history of the Reformation and the corruption of the Catholic Church, I find this rather amusing. As I written elsewhere, I have no problem with Douthat or others thinking his faith tradition is the bestest around, but I do object to him being so clueless as not to not know the substance of others' beliefs and not to understand that others would not agree with him. But then, true zealots and conservative reactionaries don't much care what the peons and heretics think, do they?

I might have to post on that Douthat conversation later, but I'll look forward to your post on it, should you choose to pen one (since you're halfway there already). Meanwhile, Crooked Timber also had a good recent one on libertarianism and sexual harassment. (They have some great threads.)

Substance McGravitas said...

Just for you, yet another thread full of appalling libertarians.

Batocchio said...

Yup, that's the one I was referring to! Unsurprisingly, the libertarian "defenses" just make things worse. CT has a fine commentariat...

Both Sides Do It said...

Ok I tried not to but Imma go crazy if I don't Fisk that first paragraph Susan quoted of Douthat.

"No ideal of universal human rights without Jesus’ radical upending of social hierarchies (including his death alongside common criminals on the cross)."

So is the part where Christianity produced one of the most dominant and longest lasting social hierarchies in the history of mankind, only to be undone by an explicit rejection of Christian views on the nature of man, just part of the process, here? Because from where I'm sitting you're Judas going "Nonono, it was all part of the plan, it had to be done, see . . ."

"No separation of church and state without the gospels’ “render unto Caesar” and St. Augustine’s two cities."

Again. Millennia after the first quote and hundreds of years after the second existed the most powerful institution to ever fuse secular and religious authority and which was only dismantled by hundreds of years of effort attacking everything Christianity stood for.

"No liberal confidence about the march of historical progress without the Judeo-Christian interpretation of history as an unfolding story rather than an endlessly repeating wheel"

By Zeus' beard, I think he's right! When we all meet in Valhalla I shall buy him a tankard of mead. One who melds such wisdom with such youth must surely have the Eye of Anubis. Who needs the infinite wisdom of Ganesha when we have our own Quetzalcoatl right here, writing for the Times! He's even got the sparse feathery facial adornments!

Substance McGravitas said...

Unsurprisingly, the libertarian "defenses" just make things worse.

It really is weird. What confuses me is why they aren't standing on streetcorners with a bullhorn and handing out literature.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, Susan. I know the 50th "anniversary" stuff for the Vietnam war must be incredibly painful for you. I was thinking about you this memorial day weekend.


Anonymous said...

to aimai: to some of us newbies here..., what was that reference to Vietnam and Susan all about?


Lurking Canadian said...

The medieval conception of history was not an "unfolding story". It was a story of a Fall from an exalted starting point an leading to a definite end.

There was a Western innovation of "the future can be better than the present" but Rome sure didn't do it.

Shorter me: Douthat's wrong again. Quelle surprise!

Batocchio said...

What aimai said. Best wishes.

Susan of Texas said...

Cynic, my father was in the Air Force Reserves and was killed in Vietnam. It was a very long time ago but Memorial Day always reminds of what it's like to lose family to war.

Susan of Texas said...

Aimai and Botacchio, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...


Oh, crap. I am very sorry.

This is when I really hate the Keyboard Kommandos who are always happy to urge someone else to get killed to fulfill their own fantasies.