We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Is Russia ready for democracy? Siberian Light quotes a guy who says No.
Democracy is not the answer to Russia’s problems, actually in today’s environment it may add to them. Would Russia would be better if it were democratic is like asking if you prefer peace to war - the answer is axiomatic. However, democracy is not about voting and the right to vote. That is purely the symbol. Real democracy can only happen when rights and responsibilities are balanced. Russia is not there yet.
It's always interesting to ponder the cultural, economic, educational and psychological/characterological requirements for political freedom.
Interesting comment on the UNICEF report. However, children's welfare, once certain minimum standards of food, health care, and education have been met, ultimately depends on the maturity and devotion of their parents.
The moral and spiritual conditions in both of their growing underclasses in England and America have led to the neglect and brutalization of children. This has been a problem throughout history in all societies, of course. It is baffling why it is such a problem now in England and the USA. Economic change, immigration, decline of family values, dogs, cats, living together...who knows what to blame...
I have worked with the British and American children who are the casualties of both systems, and they are truly wretched despite being materially rich compared to the kids of Africa. Whatever you blame it on, increasig births to unwed parents, divorce and more kids growing up in unconventional households, self-indulgent or addicted parents, a societies that value Mammon and individual fulfillment over the day to day rewards and sacrifices of nurturing and educating the young, my personal first-hand impression is that the study is basically correct.
Psychiatrists know that plenty of materially rich children are grossly abused and neglected.
This is obviously not the case for the majority of British and American children, who are as spoiled and the center of their parents' universe as their counterparts in the study that rated as more child-friendly. My personal bias is that the children of conservatives are the best treated in America, as a group. ALthough the best two parents I know confound this generalization: despite revoltingly PC politics, their devout Christianity and self-sacrificial and loving behavior has produce d four of the most accomplished, secure and creative kids I know. Which may just go to show that politics really is applesauce: character matters more than ideology!
To really understand what is happening to those truly suffering children who need help one would have to grasp some unpleasant nettles and address issues of race, class, sexual morality, character, mental illness, addiction, and the seven deadly sins. Individual people would have to take responsibility for their actions.
It is essentially the same problem of inadequate detail that plagued the description of risks for pregnant women when I was having my babies. My husband and I scared ourselves silly reading reports of the dire American pregnancy outcomes compared to the data on the superior health, vigor, and better obstetrical outcomes of the sexy Scandinavians and gloomily decided that those tall blondes were just superior beings for baby-making. But the American reports were meaningless because they weren't adjusted for class, educational level, drug use by parents, other health habits.
Whatever else socialized educational and health care systems may do wrong, they do serve as valuable safety nets for the innocent child victims of feckless parenting. There have always been bad parents, but I have to say, having living all over the world,that American and British parents are both the best of parents and the worst.
The studies' winners are cultures that practice more moderation and consistency in the care of kids. That admirable cultivation of inner peace and centeredness that Gagdad Bob describes in his article on parenting is not typically American or Brit. We perceive ourselves as brave risk takers and balance seems kinda blah to us...
But what do I know? I would probably flunk the fitness for parenting test. We all just do the best we can...
IIRC, a few years back the WHO also put the USA way down the on its list of countries that have good childbirth practices. I know some nurse practitioner/midwives who were somewhat agape at the report and incredulous that it was so different from their own day to day experience. Must always 'remember the source'.
Also, here is a link to a site written by three young NYer's who quit their jobs and are traveling around the world for a year. I have been traveling with them on the net.
Attention apple pie and retriever, these young girls are living the lives we should have had! /s
I recently attended a funeral for an elderly woman who was Estonian. When she was 17 she left Estonia in a rowboat in front of the Russian advance and rowed to Finland. She eventually got to TO but never saw her family again until after the breakup of the USSR when she was finally allowed to visit her remaining siblings and cousins. Hard to imagine.