While there are many reasons why Utah is a terrible state, one of the most recent examples of foolishness to be expressed there is the House passing abstinence-only sex education (still needs to pass the Senate but probably will). These sort of bills are fantastic for rooting out which states should have a complete overhaul of their elected officials. Abstinence only education has failed from the moment it was first introduced and the logic of it is profoundly flawed.
Imagine if you will a bill was passed that forced all new cars to be built without seat belts. Access to these seatbelts would also be actively protested and education of the importance of seatbelts would be banned.
These rulings would be made because it is obvious that seat belts energize people to drive dangerously, if we remove any options for safely driving we are just promoting dangerous driving. How would you feel about such a law passing? Do you think that people would alter their driving habits because they are no longer able to easily get seat belts?
What if we changed our national health program to just tell people to abstain from any sweets. That’s it, don’t eat anything sweet. You do not provide any reasoning, no guidance on nutrition or an active lifestyle, just don’t eat sweets. Do we expect the actions of people to change?
Even when I was in school they taught us that your chances of getting AIDS were nearly 100%. That sex with someone with AIDS would give it to you, period. The odds of you getting it as a man in heterosexual sex is .05% and its only double that .1% for women. Other forms of sex range from .005% to .5%. Now I wouldn’t want to take these chances, this isn’t the sniffles, but these are dramatically lower than what I was told.
So once a young person learns that they are being lied to by adults, what happens next? The obvious answer is the adults are discredited, they have cried wolf and nothing they’ll say beyond this point will be taken to heart. This is the danger and the widespread result of erroneous or ignorant teaching. The same happens with drugs, instead of explaining the actual repercussions of drugs with kids we tell them to “just say no” and that “only dopes smoke dope”. These things not only sound stupid but they are, completely and utterly, stupid.
You know why I didn’t do drugs? My parents built up a report with me over the course of my youth, they educated me thoroughly and made sure that I was able to personally make solid judgment choices. Neither of them ever lied to me to get me not to do something. The closest either ever came to trying to brute force me into doing something was my father telling me he’d beat my ass if I did drugs, but this was after I had told him I had absolutely no desire to, so even then it was more of a “had you though…oh boy!”
It is completely the fault of arrogance and ignorance in lawmaking adults that has lead to the break down in integrity at the young adult level. A generation of people raised to know that the generation above them is full of enough liars to get lies made into law. This is unhealthy and a shining example of why people need to keep their ignorance to themselves. It is one thing to live a fairy tale, it is another to try and force that fantasy upon the rest of the world.
There is nothing to be gained from brute forcing people to act as you wish they will. Educate people honestly and if they still don’t do what you want them to, you are probably the one that needs to change world views.