beyond our control

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 20, 2006

Almost all Americans drive drunk, says a report published Tuesday...

"The reality of the situation is that most people have been drunk behind the wheel, and it's been that way for several decades," says Lawrence Toper, director of domestic research at the Schlitz Institute, a New York City-based non-profit organization that studies alcohol consumption...

The study may fuel the debate over efforts by the federal government and others to fund programs that discourage young people from drinking and driving. Such programs stress that staying sober is the only effective or acceptable way to prevent drunk driving.

OK, I invented the story above. But I carefully followed the structure of a real USA Today story on pre-marital sex.

You'll understand the difference immediately, I'm sure. Programs to discourage drunk driving are prudent and effective, because drinking and driving are forms of behavior that mature human beings can control. Sexual activity, on the other hand, is involuntary. Once the impulse seizes you, there's nothing you can do. It's like sneezing: You're gonna do it-- nothing we can do to stop that-- so just be careful and use a tissue.

Is that the message we want to send our children? Because that's the message they're receiving, loud and clear.

In another version of the everybody's-doing-it story, furnished by AP, we find:

"This is reality-check research," said the study's author, Lawrence Finer. "Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades."

We know it's commonplace behavior; but is it normal? Before this winter is over, most Americans will suffer through a bout with the flu, or a head cold. It's normal to expect those minor ailments. But when you're coughing and hacking and running a fever, if someone asks how you feel, you don't reply that you feel normal. Sickness is commonplace; health is normal.

Veteran cigarette smokers typically cough a lot. You could tell them that coughing is normal, or you could suggest that they try to quit, clean out their lungs, and find out how pleasant real "normal" life can be.

Come to think of it, if you watch TV, you'll see public-service announcements encouraging smokers to quit. And other PSAs warning drivers against drinking, and drinkers against driving. But you won't see ads urging unmarried couples to keep their pants on. Why is that?

Because it's impossible to change human behavior? Nope; we try to change drinking and smoking habits.

Because the impulse toward sexual activity is so strong? Not likely; nicotine is incredibly addictive, but that doesn't stop us from trying.

Because those PSAs don't really work? Not true; drunk-driving rates have come down in recent years.

OK, I give up. You tell me.

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  • Posted by: ladybird - Dec. 22, 2006 12:25 AM ET USA

    Hannah! O, My! I did! I did notice the proliferation of Planned Parenthood Ads! Right after the elections! Wow! I guess they have alot of money to spend on advertising now that they don't have to spend it on lobbying! Better spend it on something, right!? But, I don't believe things are any different than they were 40 or 50 years ago. I hope and pray my daughter can be bold and confident enough to say - "In your ear, buster! No, still means NO! I Don't care who or how many are 'DOING IT'!"

  • Posted by: - Dec. 21, 2006 8:35 PM ET USA

    Abortion rates must be slipping...time to start the advertising/propaganda campaign...anyone else notice Planned Parenthoods new T.V. ads?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 21, 2006 12:29 PM ET USA

    The sex machine is a self perpetuating, rolling snowball of people not wanting to control their behavr & acpt responsibility for their actions & people who make $ off of those same people. Profiteers sell sex to those who become sex-addicts. Sxadicts then fight for their sexual freedom (to be exploited by the profiteers in the sex machine). The abortion industry, a smaller part of this SxMachine, is it's own self perp. machine - the "liberated"(sic) woman defends her "right" to be exploited ...

  • Posted by: Deacon Bart - Dec. 21, 2006 10:06 AM ET USA

    James Mitchner in his book "The Tell" (great book) points out in passing that the temple prostitutes were more harmful to society than child sacrifice.It was immorality that brought down Rome, east & west.Why do we think our elites are smarter than 4 millieums of history? God help a people that will not study and learn.Oh, & we know the pro-death folks make up numbers&lie.They've said so but most don't believe them the few times they tell an incovenient truth.

  • Posted by: unum - Dec. 21, 2006 9:08 AM ET USA

    If you watch an evening of TV sitcoms, (I know it's painful) you realize that the ads for abstinance are futile. Movies and TV define our culture for young people, and they have defined our culture as sexually active. The message being communicated to our youth is that you aren't "with it" if you aren't doing sex. Until we learn to communicate the consequences of free sex to our youth (preaching isn't necessarily communication) they are going to learn the hard way, by experience.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 21, 2006 7:40 AM ET USA

    Lisieux is right about the present emphasis in our post-Christian culture on the sins of Hypocrisy and Judgmentalism. When we begin as laity to accept our responsibility for the ongoing scandals in our Church, and doing penance, it may facilitate the good efforts of our bishops in the future. Bring on the day of fasting and penance!

  • Posted by: voxfem - Dec. 21, 2006 7:32 AM ET USA

    I think it's not really "you can't control yourself", although that's part of it, but "you shouldn't have to control yourself". Sexual activity, is not only a right, it's an obligation, according to some thinking. As pointed out, there's a lot of money involved in promiscuity and many people have committed sexual sins and don't want to have to admit they were wrong.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Dec. 20, 2006 7:56 PM ET USA

    There's more to this (free sex) than meets the eye, and I think some already know this. Anti-religion has its own sacraments although anti-religionists would never admit it... Among them..., free-sex and abortion-on-demand.

  • Posted by: sparch - Dec. 20, 2006 4:57 PM ET USA

    It was the mid-sixties thought like this that has led us to other sins of this era. The need for abortion, the confusion of sexual persuasion, euthinasia of the old and handicapped, preying sexually on the young, the divorce rate, one parent families, and even heretical clergy and lay people in our country. This thinking is what destroyed the concept of the extended family in the mid 1900's and then went on to destroy the nuclear family . Now it threatens to enslave individuals.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 20, 2006 4:30 PM ET USA

    If the media ever turned on Planned Parenthood and their ilk, Guttenmacher Institute, etc., as they did against especially the cigarette industry, abortions and everything connected with it would be on the ash heap of history right next to slavery in a year. Until then, the gospel of the media will be proclaimed unabatted.

  • Posted by: Lisieux - Dec. 20, 2006 2:16 PM ET USA

    The reason? Because the two sins (and the only two sins) of our time are Hypocrisy (interpreted as doing something one tells other people not to do) and Judgmentalism (= telling someone they're wrong, or pointing out that any actions are sinful). Since most of the true authorities in our society (the media and the celebrities they promote) fornicate, they can't tolerate any suggestion that others might be told not to, despite the mess that sexual licence is clearly inflicting on society.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Dec. 20, 2006 1:28 PM ET USA

    We don't see ads urging unmarried people to abstain because of a moral relativism that's crept into the culture & because most media industry oppose abstinence. The money from abstinence ads pales compared to billions from Planned Parenthood & its gang & from all the MTV-culture-related industries to support promiscuity. The Guttmacher Inst. that did this "study" opposes abstinence programs, & releasing such "data" can only help our promiscuous US Reps. & Sens. to cut abstience program funding.

  • Posted by: ladybird - Dec. 20, 2006 12:02 PM ET USA

    Ah, yes, the "Don't be such a prude! Everyone does it!"...many were the times I heard that! I would have probably fallen for it, except I was blessed with 3 brothers and they had a zillion friends who educated me (and any guy who came within touching distance of me). I'm sorry for the generations who listened to the wrong feminists preaching "How to keep your man satisfied!" I was lucky enough to hear "Don't be cheap; don't give "it" away; wait! You're worth waiting for!"

  • Posted by: opraem - Dec. 20, 2006 12:01 PM ET USA

    like all polls and surveys, the results reflect who's paying the bills.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 20, 2006 11:32 AM ET USA

    I can hear my mother: "If everybody else were jumping off the bridge..." Watch out for those "of those who responded" surveys. Ask yourself who is more likely to respond to a "sex" survey. The study is fundamentally flawed since their statistical "margin of error" does not take into account those who refused to participate. If these studies were accurate, the list of US Presidents would include Gore, Kerry and Dewey!

  • Posted by: Web Doctor - Dec. 20, 2006 10:43 AM ET USA

    I'd like to point out that the cited study was published by the Guttmacher Institute.