Relationships in a World of Individualism

  • rWorld

    The rWorld is about more than Dale Kuehne's book Sex and the iWorld.
    The rWorld is a New England based, non-profit (in formation), that is composed of a growing number of people and organizations from many faith and ideological backgrounds worldwide. We believe that much of the fulfillment for which women and men are looking can be found by enhancing the quality of our relationships. While the individual freedom we enjoy in the West is a gift, the love and intimacy for which humans yearn will not be found in self-serving materialism or hedonism, but in a variety of healthy relationships.

    Contact us if you'd like get involved:

  • Dale Kuehne

    Sex & the iWorld

    Professor of Politics and The Richard L. Bready Chair for Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH.

    In this blog I'm highlighting signposts of the world in which we presently reside as a means of helping promote a civil, and meaningful dialogue about what kind of world in which we wish to live. I am particularly interested in exploring how might we reconcile the individual good and the common good, and where reconciliation isn’t possible, which should take precedence and why.

    I also blog at

    [Content Caution]

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Growth Industry (Take 2)

Posted by Dale Kuehne on March 13, 2010

Teen Pregnancy in the UK

What failed? The contraception, the education, the government, or …..?


5 Responses to “Growth Industry (Take 2)”

  1. Well, everyone was completely unmoved from their original positions, regardless of the data, weren’t they?

    The evidence is ambiguous. Abstinence-only advocates insist their approach works better; harm-reduction stylists argue their approach works better. The truth? Neither one has much effect. Group solutions, for sex, drugs, alcohol, suicide, whatever, have little effect on kids. They make adults feel better, thinking they have at least done the right thing.

    Broadly speaking, there is a moderate-sized group that is going to engage in all manner of impulsive, dangerous, and unwise behavior regardless of what herculean efforts schools, churches, or governments put into them. The effort that friends and parents put into them helps somewhat. Harm reduction strategies – condoms, birth control, reducing number of partners – should be used with this group, as they respond to little else. Analogously, until the kids who drive under the influence get caught, the best you can do is get them to wear seatbelts. But harm-reduction strategies are actually counterproductive with many other kids. They do indeed result in youthful impressions that they are being given sanction that behaving a little worse isn’t really all that bad.

    The difficulty is identifying who is who beforehand. Which is clearly impossible. No one wants to officially “give up” on any individual. No one wants to get caught regarding another individual as beyond temptation and being proved wrong. So authorities seek to balance the loss on one side with gains on another. I suppose that’s the only responsible thing to do if you’re responsible for a group, but it’s a helluva cruel thing for individuals who are endangered because their particular school or government is moving the other way.

    This is why churches and parents, who see children more as individuals, tend to resent governments or schools employing strategies that they disagree with. Public health officials, doctors, guidance counselors, and others who see a greater percentage of those in the impulsive group intuitively favor harm-reduction strategies. Churches, which may feel they are seeing an unfortunate number of kids on the margin being dragged down a peg, are more likely to abhor such solutions.

    The new thing is “abstinence-focused.” That may prove to be the best balance, though the data hasn’t even started to come in.

    And of course, all advocates believe their opponents are evil or stupid, acting out of the worst motives.

  2. Well written. I never thought I would agree with this opinion, but I’m beginning to see things from a different angle. I have to research more on this as it seems quite interesting. One thing I don’t understand though is how everything is related together.

  3. Lauren Fithian said

    ASV and Resveratrol: I “third” that sentiment.
    One additional thought: It strikes me as odd that, in the UK, private schools, and most significantly private religious schools, would be subject to public education curriculum laws. (Even when the curriculum covers sex ed.) It “feels wrong” to me because it does not work that way in the US where private schools, both secular and religious, are free to develop their own curricula (at least in Minnesota). Some of the secular folks in England were upset that private religious schools would be free to teach according to their religious beliefs, as opposed to someone else’s secular opinions? It’s somehow ironic. My 16 yr old in public school–no prayer allowed. My 16 yr old in private Catholic school: prayer starts each class period. Public school child: not exactly sure what he’s getting in terms of health/sex ed. Private Catholic school child: health/sex education is most definitely based on Catholic teaching.

  4. Lauren Fithian said

    Oops–sorry Assistant Village Idiot. I mis-spelled my shortening of your moniker. It should be AVI not ASV. I think I had already moved on to being intrigued at Resveratrol’s blog name. Full names only from now on for me. 😉

  5. Lauren, I knew you meant me. AVI is quite commonly used online and I have grown comfortable with it. It sounds Jewish, and I am rather a philosemite. Also, as there is little difference between the Wise Men of Chelm and an Assistant Village Idiot, I figure it works.

    Resveratrol is very clever spam, trying to get you to click through and buy medicines. If you reread it, you will see it could apply to anything. They’re getting good. I don’t know if our live social skills will be up to adapting to the online tricks.

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