Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The 8th undercover video with transcript, plus some hope



The judge's restraining order was recently dissolved, and Center for Medical Progress was allowed to release the StemExpress undercover video. There are no gruesome shots of tiny victims in this latest video, but the horror is still all there:



Partial transcript of the video:


1) StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits that StemExpress gets intact fetuses from the abortion clinics they work with shipped to their laboratory. “Case” is the clinical term for an individual abortion (cross reference with Planned Parenthood Senior Director of Medical Services Dr.  Deborah Nucatola’s discussion of “this case, that case” in lunch video), so an “intact case” means an “intact abortion.”:

SE: Realistically, if we were to do an agreement with you, what do we think you could get?
Buyer: Volume-wise?
SE: On specifically liver tissue, because that’s such an area of demand for us.
Buyer: So liver, and what about intact specimens, just—?
SE: Oh, yeah, I mean if you had intact cases, which we’ve done a lot, we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety.
Buyer: Okay.
SE: So that would also be great if you guys have those.
Buyer: The entire case.
SE: Yeah, yeah. Because it’s just, and the procurement for us, I mean it can go really sideways, depending on the facility, and then our samples are destroyed, and we’re like, “Really?” This was all so much work, and then just to have them be destroyed is awful. I mean we have researchers wait forever, and they want certain things, you know, perfectly done, so we started bringing them back even to manage it from a procurement expert standpoint.

2) Cate Dyer says that some of the abortion clinics StemExpress works with have unsanitary conditions:

SE: We’ll do testing on our side, so we’ll be able to see, you know. And sometimes we’ll find that it can be clinic-specific. I’ve seen really rampant, rampant problems with bacteria in certain clinics. [laughter] Some where you’re kind of in question of should they really, you know, [laughing]
Buyer: Right.
SE: I’ve seen staph come out of clinics.
Buyer: Wow.
SE: So, I mean, I’ve seen all sorts of things come out of clinics, so.

3) Cate Dyer estimates StemExpress is working with nearly 100 abortion clinics nationwide, and still can’t get enough fetal liver:

Buyer: What would make your lab happy? What would make your lab happy?
SE: Another fifty livers a week.
Buyer: Ok, so you can handle that?
SE: Yea. Just so you guys know, on the collection side for us, we’re also- as you see Megan out there in the clinic, we’re working with almost triple digit number clinics. So, it’s a lot on volume a little more than what we do. It’s a lot. So, I don’t think you’ll hit a capacity with us anytime in the next ten years. I think you’ll feel solid with that standpoint. So, I think, with that you’ll feel like doing an agreement with us. It will be consistent growth and our growth has been consistent, and it’s going to continue to grow from that standpoint.


4) Cate Dyer laughs and jokes about researchers being squeamish about receiving baby parts in the mail:

SE: As you probably know, one of the issues with neural tissue, it’s so fragile. It’s insanely fragile. And I don’t even know—I was gonna say, I know we get requests for neural, it’s the hardest thing in the world to ship.
Buyer: You do it as the whole calvarium.
SE: Yeah, that’s the easiest way. And we’ve actually had good success with that.
Buyer: Make sure the eyes are closed!
SE: Yeah! [laughter] Tell the lab it’s coming!
Buyer: Yeah.
SE: They’ll open the box, go, ”Oh God!” [laughter] So yeah, so many of the academic labs cannot fly like that, they’re not capable.
Buyer: Why is that? I don’t understand that.
SE: It’s almost like they don’t want to know where it comes from. I can see that. Where they’re like, “We need limbs, but no hands and feet need to be attached.” And you’re like, ? Or they want long bones, and they want you to take it all off, like, make it so that we don’t know what it is.
Buyer: Bone the chicken for me and then we’ll—
SE: That’s it.
Buyer: And then I’ll eat it, but.
SE: But we know what it is. I mean, [laughter], but their lab.
Buyer: But then it goes to that whole stigma.
SE: Oh yeah. And their lab techs freak out, and have meltdowns, and so it’s just like, yeah. I think, quite frankly, that’s why a lot of researchers ultimately, some of them  want to get into other things. They want to look at bone marrow, they want to look at adipose- sort of adult human, kind of adult based sampling. They want to avoid publishing a paper that says it was derived from fetal tissue.

5) Cate Dyer says StemExpress has a good relationship with Planned Parenthood leadership:

Buyer: Do you feel that support from Cecile [Richards] and from Deborah [Nucatola]?
SE: Yea, oh yea. You know, everyone at PPFA. I just think that you’re in the cause or you’re not. If you’re not in the cause, they don’t need you around. They need champions and if you’re not a champion, then you should go.  That’s just- I don’t know, the clinics are very guarded, as they should be. Who do they let in their house, they let champions in their house. Right? I think it’s that same concept and ABR has just never understood that.

6) Cate Dyer believes the breakdown of how many independent vs. Planned Parenthood clinics that StemExpress is working with could be split about 50-50:

Buyer: Are you seeing any trends between the independents versus Planned Parenthoods? Your breakdown right now, are things split pretty fifty-fifty?
SE: I think it probably is. I don’t know- it is different. I don’t think that one has more pro’s or con’s than the other. I mean, Planned Parenthood has volume, because they are a volume institution.


++++++++


Please, pray for Cate Dyer. I can't imagine her feelings at watching herself saying such terrible, horrible things. It must be an out-of-body experience. It must produce a sort of self-loathing (or else a rage and denial) that we cannot even begin to understand. She is a child of God. She deserves His mercy. She can turn from this evil. Please pray.

And if you need some hope in all this ugliness, here you go, from a former Planned Parenthood counselor:









94 comments:

  1. Linda Couri is a really good speaker. I wonder what people's responses are to her statement that pro-choice activists have a shared motivation with pro-lifers, which is compassion. People's comments on this blog paint pro-choice activists as really terrible, selfish people with no integrity. Also her comments that pro-choice people and Planned Parenthood employees don't make any money from their beliefs--PP organization and administrators may make money but pro-choice activists don't. She said that what motivates people to work at Planned Parenthood is a desire to help women. What do you make of that statement.

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  2. Johanne, I believe her.

    I do think she showed that she did not live in integrity, though. She lived in denial of what is true. But yes, she's lovely and she reminds me a lot of Abby Johnson (who was more involved with the upper management, and more included in the "bottom line" of pushing abortion and quotas on abortions). Abby absolutely got into Planned Parenthood with the desire to help women. She says that often.

    What is also interesting is that so many of the women who work in these clinics are themselves post-abortive. Abby, Linda, and so many "millions", as Linda said, of others. That makes psychological sense.

    I believe these people are "true believers". But there is SO much anger and woundedness. I commented on three azcentral.com pieces about the protest I attended, and OHMYGOSH, these are nasty, mean, awful people saying nasty, mean and awful things to me and the other pro-lifers. I mean, schoolyard bullying. So, I pointed out to two of them that there was help and healing at Rachel's Vineyard, Silent No More, etc. They (tellingly) did not deny the abortions (one was a man who had obviously paid for the abortion of his own child). They went on with their bullying and vileness, but they did not deny, even when I brought it up again.

    It's very sad. My heart breaks for them. They have so much rage, so much anger. It's that avenging conscience that is about to explode, and I hope someone is there to pick up the pieces when they do. So many wounds out there.

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    1. I will add that I do not think that Linda sounded like she was angry, even when she was working at PP. She is not an angry person. But her abortion came back to haunt her not after or through outbursts of anger, but just through a sudden realization of what she had done, the truth of it, which almost crushed her.

      And that scene with her and the 16-year-old girl... whoa. And looking through those journals of the girls/women after they had their abortions. That is part I don't understand. I can't understand why the abortion industry does not know or acknowledge the pain? Some women are ruined by it. One day I hope to write the story of Gina, who I only knew briefly, but abortion ruined her. I pray she survived.

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  3. Fortunately, no one is advocating for a law forcing women to have abortions.

    I know many, many women who are glad they had abortions; they know that if they had continued their pregnancy they would not have the children they have now, nor the ability to provide their children with as much security. Abortion does not ruin women universally, not at all. And many women who feel pain from their abortions don't regret that they had them. Once an unwanted pregnancy happens there are no painless options.

    As a Catholic you undoubtedly get a skewed vision of the effect abortion has on women because you encounter women who believe it's a sin and so naturally have terrible conflict about it. The only women I've met who felt really injured by their abortions were from fundamentalist churches. Their number is tiny compared to the women I know who are glad they had the option and chose it.

    On the other hand, women deserve support to choose to continue their pregnancies if that is what they desire. Linda spoke about the crushing amount of stress her pregnancy caused. Perhaps if she were aware of more support and resources she wouldn't have felt that stress and would have made a different decision. I think Catholics walk their talk in this area--they provide good support for pregnant women. We have a home in our community for pregnant women run by a local Catholic church; it's a good place. I have donated there.

    Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. It means pro-choice. Everything possible should be done to support women who want to continue their pregnancies, but it is extremely daunting in a society that offers little support for women in crisis.

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  4. Johanne: pro-choice means that abortion is one choice among many. But abortion is already the deliberate and intentional killing of an innnocent human life. It doesn't matter if the women having them are dancing in the street with joy afterwards. It doesn't make it right.

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  5. Johanne - "women deserve support to choose to continue their pregnancies if that is what they desire."

    First, yes we need to provide support for women during and after their pregnancy. There are great places out there like you mentioned, more would be even better.

    Next, I want to point out how you choose your word as to evade the reality of abortion. "Continue their pregnancies", the reality of that statement is that science shows that a "pregnancy" means there is another human being involved here and choosing to end pregnancy means killing an innocent human.

    A more scientific and real way to phrase it would be, "women deserve support to choose to continue keeping their child alive and not targeting them for death if that is what they desire."

    Words matter. People choose to spin their words so their position doesn't seem so horrific when they are supporting a crime against humanity like slavery, genocide or abortion.

    Life of one human should not be trumped by the property rights of another human.

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  6. Johanne-
    I appreciate your comment about pro-choice being about a choice, not just abortion. I think that is why so many people have an issue with PP, they only offer 1 choice, abortion, and have NO resources to help a girl who wants to keep or give her baby up for adoption, so they really are pro-abortion only. PP makes a lot of money from abortions, which tends to discount their "helping women" theory. I don't think any woman WANTS to have an abortion, but feel it is their only choice and are told its the best idea when they walk into Planned Parenthood. I do think the women who work at PP think they are helping, but killing an innocent baby because of an inconvenient conception is a temporary fix that can leave lasting guilt and shame.....and PP doesn't have resources to help women for that either.

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  7. "Fortunately, no one is advocating for a law forcing women to have abortions."

    I think this is true from most pro-choice advocates; however there are numbers of people who get upset over the over-population myth and the environment. They advocate a cap on the number of children people have. But what happens if there's an opps? Well that's were I look at countries who do have caps such as Vietnam and China. In China there is forced abortions from local government officials. It's well documented. So while I'm not sure that these people who advocate child caps are advocating forced abortions, I'm not sure what alternatives they want to put in place. If it's a fine, people are going to pay it so it seems negligible or can be used as target for poor people. So it looks like it leads down the same road China is going. In any case, it's not a good idea to advocate for child caps because on some level it's a human rights violation.

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  8. Johanne, you really need to visit silentnomore.com. Many, many women from many different backgrounds, many of whom were taught all their lives that abortion was NOT a sin, suffering horribly afterwards nonetheless.

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  9. However, as jrfjosh mentioned, how women feel after an abortion is really irrelevant. Abortions is a human rights violation - the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. How people who commit human rights violations "feel" afterwards has no bearing whatsoever on if the violation was indeed wrong.

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  10. "Fortunately, no one is advocating for a law forcing women to have abortions."

    Hmmm, Johanne, well that doesn't help the children being killed by the millions already, does it?

    And here's the thing: Yes, more should be done to help women in crisis (and Catholics and others are doing so), but then why is PP and other pro-aborts trying to slam and even make illegal (literally) our crisis pregnancy centers? I really would like you to answer.

    And just throwing this out there: Many, many of the women I know who have had abortions were not religious at the time of their abortions. In fact, many were just like the lady in the video. Raised very "loose" and open to all ideas about abortion. One dear friend (who aborted her only child) was raised Episcopalian and VERY liberal, very in line with the Democratic Party, had no real qualms when she aborted. Her mother is (to this day) best friends with Gloria Feldt (former head of PP till she retired and my friend's mom threw her retirement party). My friend was on the junior board of PP. So, this idea that most people who regret it are fundamentalists or religious is not true in my understanding. In fact, it's often the overwhelming regret (which no one told them they would feel) which turns them to the Church for healing. When you kill your child, that realization is so large that only God can heal, and they know it.

    Here's another personal friend, Karen, who was not at all religious, and totally "free" of those influences, when all this horror went down in her life:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/11/silent-no-more-friends-abortion-story.html


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  11. "Hmmm, Johanne, well that doesn't help the children being killed by the millions already, does it?"

    So, my comment here sounded snarkier than I intended. The travails of typing vs. speaking. But really, should we be happy that we are not like China? I mean, that seems a pathetic thing to be happy about. "We are stepping over (or trafficking in) millions of dead babies, but at least we aren't forcing abortions"! Sort of rings hollow.

    We could have said in the 1800s, "Well, we don't have laws forcing people to own slaves!" I don't think that would be music to the ears of anyone who respects human life.

    So, I read the whole "report" today by the hired "experts" of PP, purporting to discredit the hours of video from CMP. Good gracious. Well, at least they admitted that there was NO audio distortion or alteration in those hours-long videos. All those things were said, and all the video images are real. They really are grasping at straws, but the abortion-loving media will stand by anything PP says or presents, and use their power to push that narrative. Are people really this gullible? Sigh.

    Johanne, you still have not told us what you think of the videos.

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  12. I want to add one more thought:

    I mentally went through all the women I know who have had abortions and who are now pro-life. Every single one of them (and there are quite a few) were NOT religious when they had their abortion(s), except for one friend who was a practicing Catholic teen. Had the laws required her to get parental permission before an abortion, her parents would have supported her in keeping the baby. Instead, she made a decision without parental input that she greatly, greatly regrets, even decades later. As it stood, the abortion clinic was happy to abort her child without the knowledge and guidance of her parents.

    Sick, sick, sick. Something is so very wrong here.

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  13. Linda Couri says that she was fine with her abortion for 11 years. Yes, it took 11 years for the seriously discomfiting realization of what she'd actually done - killed her own child - to hit her. No one who has suppressed guilt on his/her conscience should walk around nonchalantly confident that it won't come to the fore - with devastating consequences for his/her mental health - at some sudden point.

    Truly, having grown up in Calcutta among the poor, many of whom (my own parents included) struggled financially to raise their children and yet exhibited so much equanimity and even real joy in their lives, I struggle to understand why the thought of an "inconvenient"/"untimely" child or two strikes such terror - to the point of killing! - in the hearts of folks in the richer nations of the world, where so much support for families already exists at governmental and non governmental levels, albeit we could certainly do with a lot more. This (unwarranted level of) fear suppresses not only the nobility in our consciences, but also erodes so much of the finest of mettle in us! Outwardly we cry, "Yes, we can!" but inwardly we cave, by the millions, to the whispers of "choice" mongers like PP "No, you can't!"

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  14. Johanne, you said:

    I know many, many women who are glad they had abortions;

    That still doesn't make the killing of their offspring right.

    they know that if they had continued their pregnancy they would not have the children they have now

    I don't even know what this means. Does this mean, "it's good that they had to kill some of their children in order to eventually have the others"? If so, how? And should we be pitting some children (siblings) against the other for survival? Anyway, this sounds like classic "ends justifies the means" reasoning.

    nor the ability to provide their children with as much security.

    We kill human beings for the sake of financial or emotional security? Seems like life should trump "security", or else we should allow poor people to kill of some of their born children. Or, we should be allowed to kill off poor people, since they don't have the proper amount of "security" to have a good quality of life? I'm trying to wrap my head around the hierarchy of truth and hierarchy of good here.


    Abortion does not ruin women universally, not at all.

    Can you really say that it does not ruin women? What about eternally? Is there no transcendent effects to the things we don on the temporal level? Johanne, you don't strike me as the kind of woman who believes that violence and killing is a way for us to solve our problems. Why are you okay with the violence of abortion?

    And many women who feel pain from their abortions don't regret that they had them

    Yes, many people who do horrible things feel pain about it but do not admit to regret. Usually it's "Well, I had to do this or that. It was awful, but necessary." And yet, that can only hold as long as the conscience does not go to the fact that the "thing" done was the killing of one's own child. We must keep that at bay, mentally, emotionally.
    And, heck, let's take another sin. Many people have ruined their families because they've had an affair, and, sure, they feel the pain of it ("ouch! that sure wasn't pleasant, ruining my marriage and family!", but "wouldn't change it", since it freed them up to feel "happier" in some material or physical or emotional way. It doesn't make the adultery any less evil.

    Once an unwanted pregnancy happens there are no painless options.

    Nothing in life is painless. But there is an option that everyone can live with, and it's the option that does not kill one of the parties involved.

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    1. Oh, I hate typos, bad grammar, and awkward syntax! And unclosed parentheses! I am so sorry!

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  15. It looks fine to me. I'm sure that gives you great consolation:)

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  16. And yes Johanne, what about the videos? Craig's List, swap meet , body parts marketplace is OK?

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  17. You know, I have two children who wouldn't exist if I hadn't had miscarriages. Does that mean that miscarriage is a good thing? Somehow, I don't think so. Just because God brings good out of a bad situation doesn't mean that we should rejoice about the bad situation.

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    1. Yes, and especially when we CAUSED (abortion) the bad thing in the first place.

      "Oh, look at this bad thing I did that brought about some good!" Can you imagine using that as a moral principle?

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  18. The videos: I understand the bare logic of saying that fetuses will be dead anyway so we should use their bodies for good, but it's a dicey road and I don't agree with it. When dead fetuses result in profit it opens the probability that a woman's decision about having an abortion could be influenced and that should never happen. Additionally, when the amount of money that a fetus brings is dependent on the condition its in that could influence a clinician's method of doing the abortion. That should never happen. Surgical methods should only be influenced by what is safest for the woman.

    Joanna--if how a woman "feels" about her abortion is irrelevant then why do pro-lifers, including Leila and others on this blog constantly bring it up? All the assertions that abortions (which I'm sure are partially true) cause women to feel grief, guilt, and devastation. If women's feelings about their abortions are irrelevant than why are you always talking about them? And if those feelings are relevant then the feelings of the multitudes of women who are relieved and grateful they had abortions are also relevant. One way or the other.

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  19. Johanne, we talk about it because there is a human toll to abortion, aside from the dead child. Yes, there are people who do terrible things who never regret it. But when we talk about the devastation that this particular "medical procedure" causes legions women, we need to ask why? What is going on? What makes this procedure different from an appendectomy?

    I don't know of a single support group for the emotional devastation/addictions/suicide ideation/depression/dysfunction/relationship destruction, etc., from the aftermath of an appendectomy. Have you? If so, point me to it.

    Planned Parenthood denies the harm that abortion causes women, because most of the PP employees are the walking wounded (like Abby, like Linda, like the HUNDREDS of women who have fled the business to join Abby's And Then There Were None ministry for abortion workers. Where else can you see this kind of phenomenon?

    Just because some people don't (yet) have emotional fallout from killing their children (and may never have regrets, at least not in this life), that doesn't mean that we can't talk about the devastation that happens in the lives of a very significant number of them, and not always immediately, sometimes up to 6 decades later!

    I am a little bit stunned that your reaction to the videos was only about the danger of trafficking in the children's parts. Is that your gut, as a woman, when seeing these other women "ply their trade"? It's so dark and grisly and ugly and, yes, un-human. You don't see any of that? Body parts of little ones, hands, feet, heads, lying in their own entrails, being laughed at? What level of evil must there be in those places? What can be the excuse for this barbarism? "Security"?

    What did you think, Johanne, as a human being about these videos?

    Do you think American taxpayers should be doling out a half billion dollars a year to the people you have seen in those videos?

    And so many of our questions to you left unanswered from earlier. I know you are outnumbered, and I get that it's hard. Can you ask some of your friends to come and talk? I want to know if they have watched the videos. What their humanity thinks of what they saw there.

    I know I saw the banality of evil.

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  20. Johanne, your answer about the videos is quite refreshing actually, considering the complete silence by most regarding the human parts trafficking side of this issue. You seem to think that informed choice is important. So how about simply showing the moms a simple sonogram and some basic info on fetal development? Perhaps a quick course on adoption and perhaps even the possible psychological impact of their decision. Isn't that just the normal thing to do with just about everything? kids can't even have peanut butter in schools or take aspirin without signing an informed consent release. Think of all the warning labels and public service protections we take for everything. Don't you think that would be a straight forward approach?
    Never mind parental consent (can you imagine? ridiculous)
    When do you think the product of conception becomes a human being? (I'm not being a wise-a--) really?

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  21. And btw, has anybody been told the line of " then what would we do with 10 million babies if abortion wasn't an option?" Isn't it true (at least with people on this blog and 50 million other Christians) that we would step up without hesitation. I mean, if my wife and I were told that some woman couldn't/wouldn't keep her baby or she would abort, I believe that would be a 4 minute conversion ending with "so which room will the baby sleep in?" I'm sure millions would answer that call. Sometimes I'm shocked that people don't understand that.

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  22. "So how about simply showing the moms a simple sonogram and some basic info on fetal development? Perhaps a quick course on adoption and perhaps even the possible psychological impact of their decision. "

    I think these things should be offered to women but not forced on them if a woman doesnt want those things.

    "And so many of our questions to you left unanswered from earlier."

    Leila`-- I have been dealing with a medical situation for several weeks and honestly don't have the mental energy to think all this stuff through.

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  23. I want to comment on the StemExpress issue here. I think many have commented on PP, and the problems with abortion, etc, but what about the fact that researchers in our country ARE BUYING DEAD BABIES? I want cures to diseases/conditions as much as the next person, but not at the cost of a baby's life. Does this Stem Express sell fetal parts to public university researchers? How is this ethical/legal? I knew that there was a great deal of research done on embryos (which I also don't agree with), but I didn't realize that there is actually a market for aborted babies. In high school, we dissected fetal pigs, and my teacher had a big jar of fetal pigs on his desk. This image is still in my mind, many years later. Do scientists really have no qualms about working with parts of human babies?

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    1. And yes, Chris, my husband and I and many people we know would gladly take in an "unwanted" baby.

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  24. Chris - I completely agree. There would be no shortage of people who would want to adopt these children that are being killed.

    There are millions of couples on waiting lists for adoption. Some people have to wait years for a child to be placed with them.

    My wife and I are infertile and have adopted once. To adopt again we will need to wait years again. We would love to have any of these children that are being brutality killed.

    It makes me sick when people act like they are unwanted, as if that makes it 100% okay to kill someone because they claim they are "unwanted" humans.

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  25. Yes, I personally know people waiting YEARS to adopt an infant, and yes, even a special needs infant.

    Just this month, four couples I know had surprise calls that babies were born that they could adopt. It was like a miracle!! One of them only had the baby 24 hours before the mother changed her mind and took the baby back, and another has a bio father contesting, but the other two are cleared for adoption and it's a miracle. They had waited so long. There are no shortage of couples.

    And if you point to the kids in foster care, let me point out to you how many HOOPS and red tape and HEARTACHE is involved in the system that keeps those kids there for YEARS and also can give the kids back to unfit parents at any time, leaving families in heartbreak and also financially strapped. Foster care is brutal for a parent to navigate, although God bless those who can do it (my dear friend Danya is going through foster certification with her husband right now, and they have also adopted four abandoned children internationally, not all infants; this is common in pro-life circles).

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  26. "Leila`-- I have been dealing with a medical situation for several weeks and honestly don't have the mental energy to think all this stuff through."

    I've been praying for you! I hope you are feeling better.

    I just didn't think a gut reaction, a quick impression, would take that much time.

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  27. Hi there...I was so blown away by Linda Couri's testimony. I really identify with her and her thought processes, although, thank God I never had an abortion. She speaks in a language that many of my peers might not dismiss. They would see themselves in her intellectualism.
    Johanne- You brought up the point that Leila and others point out the many women who are emotionally ruined by abortion, but negate your point that you know many women who do not suffer great emotional distress after. I think this is valid to bring up, but I would stand by the person who said that it does not matter how it makes you feel if it is morally wrong to do.
    I know many people, including my sorry self, who partied away their 20's feeling good, having experiences, living in the city, seeing bands, working hard and moving up the ladder, sleeping with boyfriends or hookups etc. This all felt very good and FUN! (well most of the time, I also had an eating disorder, but most of my friends did not). But now, I see how wasteful and wrong it was. How we were fooling ourselves about the purpose of our lives.
    Just like the divorce culture hurts non-divorcing families, abortion hurts people who don't even have them. It perpetuates the myth, that sex does not equal babies, that babies are not what life is about, and that settling down and having a family when you are in your early or mid twenties is nuts. It is not nuts...it is honest. We are most fertile then, we are mostly healthy and we have energy. We have a strong sex drive then, and it makes sense to harness it into a holy and productive relationship. The sterile, fun, 20's and early 30's is a big, fat lie for all women that is really hurting many smart women.

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  28. Mary, wow! Can I give a huge AMEN to your comment? Wow, yes, I totally relate -- though I'm thankful that even in my sinful young adult life, I still wanted to get married and have babies young (and then have my "two or three" kids and travel and have fun in my 40s, ha ha, says the 48-year-old preschool mom who is also a grandma!).

    I've missed your comments here, mary!

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  29. The problem isn't the babies. There could be a gazillion more babies and there would be homes for them. It's all about the mother. There's common thinking "don't have sex until you married" to "you had premarital sex, shame on you, now there's a baby coming".

    I struggle with this as my children grow up. I want them to be chaste but I also want them to know that whatever happens, we'll deal with it without shame.

    I know some people here think that shame is just fine. I believe that shame leads to more abortions. It's easier to get forgiveness from God than it is from your peers in the pew.

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  30. Sorry to not be on the blog, I have been caring for sick mom and working, but now I am taking a leave for a year to be a mom and a daughter. I have been reading on my phone from time to time, but I cannot type on my phone worth a fig.

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  31. Lizamoore said " It's easier to get forgiveness from God than it is from your peers in the pew."

    That is so true. Parents, peers, grandparents, bosses, can fool themselves into thinking you are a chaste 24 year old woman if you are not actually pregnant, even though you might be far from chaste and have had three abortions in secret. Once that bump shows everybody knows what you did. That is a fact.

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  32. Johanne, when does life begin? Why can't that be answered? If it can't be answered then how can we assume we are right in taking that life?

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  33. Angel, is that what we need to do? Start a new organization called " We'll take the baby!" or "Angels Flight" or something real fuzzy like that. Mama just has to let the hitchhiker ride for nine months then pass them over to us. All done with crazy Love! You can do the adoption admin and I'll hit the church's for donors. Sign up and pledge to adopt (pre-screened, multiple references etc, mama can even pick the parents). Can't take a kid? Sponsor a family financially to do so. How many retirees would go for that? We can do meet and greets for sponsors and families willing to adopt. Imagine the big donors that would show up and want to change the world forever. Life could spring forth and God would smile for sure. It could be a great Christian revival of sorts. Imagine the spiritual growth for so many to stretch out and work hard for such a good and positive thing.
    But no, our culture says no, just kill it. We have become dulled cannibals with zero awareness outside of self need. People know it's a baby, a person. In their gut they know. They just settle on that primitive instinct for self preservation I guess. Back to base natural selection. The strong and the weak. Watch out granny , you are next.

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    1. Sorry to go all negative there Angel. But if we did get the chance, it's you and me sister! and jrfrosh and a million others.

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    2. Chris, what do you think of this idea?? :) Pro-Life Medical Clinics!!

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    3. The link didn't work but hell yes. Informed choice! They pitch their crap and we pitch ours. We'd eat their lunch with a fair playing field. If there was one law that could be passed right now that would make a gigantic difference it would be informed choice.
      These are pals of ours if you haven't seen it.
      http://youtu.be/_wGflTsJK0w

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    4. http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/can-pro-life-medical-clinics-become-the-cure-for-planned-parenthood

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    5. awesome, that's what I'm talking about! If a life is at stake, and we just can't seem to agree if it's a person or not, then lets have informed choice! How could that possibly be bad?
      Just crazy

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  34. Chris, your proposed organization sounds wonderful except you mentioned nothing about how we can make it good for the woman carrying the "hitchhiker" - that's a disgusting thing to say, even in jest or sarcasm. The women/girls I know that gave up babies for adoption didn't feel like that. They are devastated and miss their child every minute of the day.

    What can we do for women/girls to make adoption better than abortion for them? Or does it not matter because a couple who wants a baby gets one?

    What about the culture that looks down on women/girls who have unwanted pregnancies no matter what happens to the baby?

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  35. He was speaking to the dumbed-down intellect of the day - that which calls women "incubators" and babies "hitchhikers" or worse (as I've heard) "parasites". He wasn't intending insult. Let's all table it as it's really talked about. Speak to the culture, meet them where they're at.

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  36. Thanks Nubby
    LizaMoore, sounds like you have a calling. You can run the counseling department. And didn't I say "with crazy love". Any parent, peer, boss, pewsitter who cannot recognize a heroic choice can simply jump in the lake. People will always sneer no matter what. But action inspires people. You seem to think that people still have a super puritan attitude these days. I think people today, more than yesterday, understand the battlefield and know that life is messy and sh-- happens. And what a great way to change nasty attitudes and stigmas than to demonstrate and explain what courage really is? I guess my main idea is that there is way to work forward from the starting point of "let the baby live".

    and you asked "Or does it not matter because a couple who wants a baby gets one?"
    I'm sorry What?
    This isn't about "getting babies", it's about saving lives. You know, the right to life and all that? Just like the pregnant girl/woman and father enjoys? All is for not if we can't get that right.

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  37. Awesome article, Margo! I've never heard of Obria before. I wish there were more clinics like that nationwide.

    And Chris, I got your main idea; I'm not worried about the negativity.

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  38. I'm not qualified to counsel but I do provide support in terms of housing and emotional support for moms who aren't in a great situation. We only have one 2 family house for them. I wish I had 10 more houses.

    As I said in another post, I think shaming women/girls who have premarital sex is one of the main reasons for abortions. Until we figure that out, many abortions are going to continue to happen. This is my focus (and my family's) for our pro-life activities.

    In my opinion, abortion isn't going to end because it's outlawed. It will end when there aren't any reasons to have one. We have to chip away at those reasons. Making it hard for a woman to get an abortion with laws and rules isn't working. We have to commit to giving them support for as long as they need it. For some, that's until the kid grows up.

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  39. LizaMore, I am trying to get clarity on what you are saying.

    "I think shaming women/girls who have premarital sex is one of the main reasons for abortions."

    Maybe we are living in different areas of the country? I haven't seen "shaming" for girls having premarital sex in decades. Are you in a fundamentalist enclave? I'm truly asking. All I see in my "America" is encouragement to have sex when one feels like it, even as a teen. The hook-up culture and "embracing your inner slut" and a rejection of "slut shaming" (?) is the air we breathe, culturally. So, can you clarify where you are seeing this "shaming" and what it looks like?

    Honestly, the "shame" I see is more like this:

    "You should have had safe sex! Why didn't you use protection?"
    "You need to finish your degree! A baby will get in the way of your dreams!"
    "Sorry (wife/girlfriend), we can't afford a kid. Please take care of the problem."

    None of those are "shaming for premarital sex". But there is plenty of coercion to have abortions. I believe that most women and girls are coerced, either by their mothers (sadly) or their boyfriends/husbands. They are unsupported. They feel they have no other choice. And the culture tells them they have every right to have sex and not have consequences.

    "In my opinion, abortion isn't going to end because it's outlawed. It will end when there aren't any reasons to have one."

    Actually, there will always be abortion. Always. Always. And there will always be rape. And theft. And fornication. And lying. There will always be sin, because human nature does not change. This idea that if we somehow provide the perfect conditions for everyone, then sin will not occur -- is naive at best. It's not reality. Should we support women in crisis and their children (and even the fathers)? Yes!! Of course! There are thousands of crisis pregnancy centers, charities, maternity homes, etc. Lots of help out there. Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby are not providing that help. But they sure do get a half billion dollars of our tax dollars a year, despite the fact that their only real "help" to women in crisis is to collect a patient's cash for the abortion and then kill their child. "Problem solved." That is such a crock.

    "Making it hard for a woman to get an abortion with laws and rules isn't working."


    This statement confuses me. What do you mean? If you could clarify, that would be great. When abortion was illegal, there were countless fewer abortions in America. When it became legal, the numbers skyrocketed and the floodgates to millions of abortions were opened. Of course making abortion illegal will limit abortions. I'm confused why anyone would think otherwise? If abortion were illegal tomorrow, and providing them became criminal again, the numbers of abortions would plummet.

    So, what do you mean about "isn't working"?

    Bottom line, we work both fronts. We make the taking of human life illegal (human life is the most basic of all rights. If we don't protect humans from being killed at will, what is the point of government? That really is its primary task: The protection of its people), and we also help people who are in dire straits. So, it's always "both/and" not "either/or". Catholics are not "either/or" people, we are "both/and". Our moral obligation to end rape, for example is not, "Well, we need to make conditions such that no man ever feels like he needs or wants to rape; laws against rape are not working." Would we ever suggest getting rid of rape laws? Of course not.

    So, help me understand these points if you could. Thanks!


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  40. This isn't about "getting babies", it's about saving lives.

    Thanks, Chris. Exactly. I totally got what you were saying. And I totally got that the "hitchhiker" (or "parasite" or "blog of tissue" or "products of conception" or "fetus who has no permission to live in my uterus") are the views of the pro-abortion crowd, who disdain and despise and dehumanize the child. They are not your words, you were mocking and calling out the other side. That was really obvious to me and hopefully to most everyone.

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  41. mary, I will pray for your mom! I am glad you are able to take the year off!

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  42. 60% of women having abortions in the USA already have a child.

    Induced Abortion in the United States

    So this notion of a woman aborting her baby due to being shamed for her pregnancy doesn't really hold water. There's little to no shame involved for the woman these days, unless she's an unmarried girl living in some Asian country or something. No, the grinding reality is, as we become more and more self interested and narcissistic in the West, we are less and less inclined to extend support to (and.or extend ourselves for) those in a predicament among us - sadly, in some cases, even if they are our own young children. Hence we urge them to be simply rid of the "problem". And this urging we disingenuously portray as springing from a noble desire that they not be "punished" by the "problem" (a la Barack Obama) - so that they, and we, can get on with our lives and pleasures undisturbed. It's exactly the same dynamic at play at the other end of the continuum of this culture of death: the allegedly "merciful" phenomenon of euthanasia which relieves the aged and the infirm from the "punishment of suffering". Nothing to do with such people being an inconvenient or expensive burden on us as individuals or as a society, of course. This is the "throwaway culture" that Pope Francis is repeatedly warning us about - if only the world would listen. Only if/when we regain some vestige of our fast disappearing nobility will we think more widely again in paradigms of love, true compassion, and support for those among us in strife.

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  43. Leila- Thanks for prayers for my mom. Her name is Judy.

    Lizamore- I agree with Leila about the non-existent slut-shaming. Here in MA it is like Leila describes. It is also a cultural/class thing. Upper middle class girls do NOT have babies in high school or college or even in the few years after college. The shaming is more of a cultural expectation that you just don't have babies...nothing about your sexual behavior.
    I remember Leila showing some video where two people went around a college campus pushing a stroller with a tot in it, asking for where various services for married students or daycare or other child-related entities were located, and it seemed like they were from Mars. The point was, that on campus you have all these fertile 20 somethings having lots of sexual intercourse all piled in together in close proximity to each other, and the natural product of that activity had become totally forgotten and foreign. Threatening and dangerous even. It is totally dystopian when you think of it.

    Actually, I remember during college when it occurred to me briefly how twisted and odd it was to spend all that time ONLY around people your own age. It actually narrows your mind, rather than broadening it. I think it fosters narcissism, insularity, promiscuity and binge partying. Not to mention a weird idolatry of the particular university itself. Young people need children around them, they need older people nearby, and they need elderly people. Maybe not all the time, but they really need this. Otherwise, on many campuses where mom and dad are paying for everything, a sizable number of kids lose sense of all grounding. I am struck by how immature many 21 year olds seem to me. My husband and his friends had a really hard time accepting that college was over. He kept going back for weekends afterwards to party at the frat house. Much of our inability to get started and married earlier had to do with this mindset (and my twisted mindset as well) Honestly, college is too fun. Basically, you are paying for your kids (at the privates) to have four years of fun and living in luxurious suites and eating like kings and mixing with lots of other kids in the same boat, with some actually doing some work, if they are taking rigorous courses, but colleges are full of gut courses. Even the elite ones.

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  44. My friend just finished teaching in Italy for a summer course. Her little American university ran the program because they watched as their students spent their money for travel abroad on programs run by bigger schools. She had almost no oversight for this program, except that she was not to make expectations high. The students took her class in the "Health Factors of Italian Cuisine" for credit and did almost nothing. They went to party. My friend knew it was supposed to be an easy class, but she thought the kids would spend their time seeing the sights and going to museums etc.....no...they partied like maniacs. She was constantly worried about them, as they lived in her building.

    Now, I spent time abroad and my program was pretty rigorous. Actually, it was probably one of the least crazy times during college. We did have fun, but our courses actually had papers due and tests....So in reality the parents of these kids think they are paying big money so their students are edified in the finer points of Italian culture and history, and actually they paying for them to rave and hook up with European men. Why bother paying the college? Why not just give your kids some money and tell them to tour Europe?

    We have a few very large Catholic families in town. When other people comment to me about them that they are irresponsible, their chief complaint (for those that are not furious with them for polluting the planet with children) is that they cannot pay for college for 8 or 9 or more kids. Some lament that they would have had more children of their own, but they had to pay for college. So paying for four years of partying has become the metric for my culture of whether you have that third or fourth or fifth kid or not. I know it affected me...so sad...so crazy...so stupid.

    The lady down the street had her son apply to 17 colleges because that is what the expensive college advisor they paid for recommended. He spent one year at the "school of his dreams" and paid big bucks...only to get homesick, earn low grades and drop out. So much for her 18 years of engineering him and limiting her family size so he could go to the BEST SCHOOL because that was going guarantee a lifetime of wonderfulness. And here our president keeps saying that everyone needs to go to college.

    I realize young people need some avenues to congregate and enjoy life, but from what I saw and experienced years ago, it was beyond the pale of what would be considered healthy or borderline acceptable.

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  45. Mary, your words need to be seen and read far and wide. I'm going to make these a post of their own! I hope you don't mind. :)

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  46. Mary, I'm in college right now. Certainly plenty of people here are blowing thousands and thousands of their parents' money to get wasted every night and drop out in a couple years, but there are also many huge opportunities to learn and grow. When students don't take college seriously, this is their fault, not the system's. I won't say that everyone should go to college, but your post seemed to suggest that college as an institution is rarely worth it these days. I say that students get out of it nothing more or less than what they put in.

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  47. Chris, my own (and my husband's) experiences in college, as well as the three of our kids who have gone to college, confirm what Mary is saying. Sure, there are some good things going on at college (and there are a few very mature kids who will not get wasted every weekend (weekend starting on Thursday), but they are few and far between, and the colleges which do not allow/tolerate that kind of crap are even more rare. The average college freshman is not mature, not in the least. Even coming from prep schools, "ready to learn". And when colleges themselves have "sex weeks" and offer majors in things like "lesbian chicana medieval poetry" (exaggerating there, but not much), then yes, we can definitely say that the universities are a massive, massive part of the problem. It's pretty bad out there, and I'm glad you have been mature enough to stay out of the fray.

    Have you seen this nonsense? This sort of thing is getting more and more common, and it's insanity. And we pay fortunes for these crazies to "educate" our children:

    http://diversity.utk.edu/2015/08/pronouns/

    We have lost our ever-loving minds.

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    1. Apparently, alumni outrage was enough to have them pull the page! Interesting! But "gender neutral" pronouns will be back soon enough, as they are all the rage now among the elites. We will comply eventually, when enough people are "enlightened" about the oppressiveness of gendered pronouns (unless, of course, it's a transgendered person, and then one had better use anything BUT a gender-neutral pronoun or the pronoun which corresponds to the person's actual biology).

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  48. That link just gave me an error message. By the address I'll assume it had to do with weird invented pronouns (xir, whatever). Those things are dumb but they're not exactly destroying western civilization either. And I haven't run into any of those at my school.

    Colleges themselves are certainly tolerant of lots of bad decisions students make. And the show they put on for parents (low tolerance, always enforcing rules, etc) is definitely different from standard operating procedure. I've never felt pushed into making a bad decision, though. Ultimately, personal responsibility is key here.

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  49. "Those things are dumb but they're not exactly destroying western civilization either."

    What sort of things ultimately destroy freedom and truth? Nothing does this "all at once", but gradually, no?

    And yes, they took it down no doubt due to the outrage of alumni. But even in civilized places like Canada, there is even an entire school district whose board voted that those "inclusive" pronouns be used --by law. We are not far off.

    Lots of stuff happening very quickly even in America, with the weight of the law behind it.

    As for "personal responsibility" -- when was the last time you heard a cultural push for personal responsibility? I hear a push for "rights" but always without any regard to responsibility. Thoughts?

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    1. And just from a generational perspective: I am 48. Not too ancient. The world of America now is VASTLY different today than it was even twenty years ago. And even than it was ten years ago. You are too young, still, to see that things have changed and how rapidly. It's breathtaking.

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  50. Asking for, or demanding, certain rights is a political statement. Promoting responsibility is not really a political statement. It's easy for political speech to drown out normal, common-sense speech. But I don't think the latter has gone away.

    The world is changing, certainly. Towards what end, I don't know. Every day I hear of more steps forward, more steps back. Out of curiosity, when was the last time you were happy with the way America was going?

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  51. Basically, you are paying for your kids (at the privates) to have four years of fun and living in luxurious suites and eating like kings and mixing with lots of other kids in the same boat, - Mary said.

    Sure, there are some good things going on at college (and there are a few very mature kids who will not get wasted every weekend (weekend starting on Thursday), but they are few and far between, and the colleges which do not allow/tolerate that kind of crap are even more rare. The average college freshman is not mature, not in the least. Even coming from prep schools, "ready to learn". And when colleges themselves have "sex weeks" and offer majors in things like "lesbian chicana medieval poetry" (exaggerating there, but not much), then yes, we can definitely say that the universities are a massive, massive part of the problem. - Leila said.

    Universities are bastions of debauchery and the cost is often horrendous, agreed. But are we just taking a look at the moral and financial angles, issuing complaint, and halting there? I mean, so if we validate Mary’s experience, what conclusion do we draw about the college experience, college degrees, and end-of-the-day decisions about pursuing one? Or are we just lamenting where the culture is going?

    I ask because I’m trying to get a pulse on the direction of the comments. If the main idea is whether or not to attend college because x, y, or z is happening culturally in these places, then there are several other variables that should be considered to round out the conversation. If we’re just passing comments on the deadening of our culture then I see that and agree, but I don’t think it pursues thought far enough.

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  52. Chris, two steps forward in what ways? And what steps back? I'm curious.

    And asking for or demanding rights brings us back to the never-answered question: What is a "right" and who gives rights? We can't just have this proliferation of new "rights". It makes no sense. And responsibility should be "political speech" (remember JFK and "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country").

    Looking back at how far we have fallen, morally, I would say that even five years ago I was happier with where the country was. When was I "happy" with the way it was going (as in a direction)? That's hard to say, since the nation has been on a decline for decades, just never as fast as recently. So the question about happiness with the way "America is going" is hard, because I am only conscious from the 1970s on, and it's been on a huge decline. So, morally speaking, each decade is getting worse than the last; in other words go backwards to answer that question (or look at the stats for family stability, children born without a mom and dad, and you will get an idea of the state of the nation; as goes the family, so goes the culture). So, America has always "been going" down, but the rapidity here is incredible. That's the perspective that you simply don't have. It's not your fault; it's just a function of your having been a teen to adult for a very short time. You don't see how fast we are free falling.

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  53. Nubby, I think Dennis Prager (degrees from two Ivy League schools) answers your question better than I could:

    http://www.dennisprager.com/dont-waste-your-money-on-an-expensive-college/

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  54. I don’t disagree with his take. I just don’t think it takes the thought far enough. He's talking about expense tied to weak majors tied to liberal profs. I understand that. I especially agree with his idea that people aren’t pursuing the right kind of degrees.

    Forbes had a great article on the topic of the worthiness of college degrees that underscored 4 major factors (based directly on Bureau of Labor stats) that are definitely important to consider. It painted a very logical picture based on data, not theory, so it spoke directly to the operating reality of the world we’re in. Apart from the moral and cultural angle, it relates to cost insofar as return on investment goes. The takeaways were:

    1. Higher starting salaries with a degree
    2. ROI ave is less than 4 yrs.
    3. Higher lifetime earnings with a degree
    4. Lower unemployment rate with a degree

    Look at what kind of degree you’re getting. Look at what kind of return you can expect over the long haul (or even short haul) of a career in the selected field. Look at the reality of the stats that show that possessing a degree makes a fundamental difference in even finding a job to begin with.

    Not only do you earn less without a degree but there is a much higher rate of unemployment without one. You can make back what you shelled out for the degree in about 4 years of being employed in the workforce, with strong job security as well (50% increase). The numbers can’t be denied, no matter how badly we lament the brainwashing by profs, the on-campus propaganda, etc.

    So while I understand the rants against colleges because they are centers of immorality, no one is required to partake in that immorality as a student. And while I understand the rants against colleges because they are gouging our wallets, I still see the main reasons (data) why anyone with a vocation to go should go.

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  55. Well, first off, I said "more steps forward, more steps back" to avoid making a claim about what the overall direction of things is (which, as I said, I don't know).

    Recently I've been glad to hear about lower unemployment, the legalization of gay marriage, the budget deficit growing smaller, the release of those Planned Parenthood videos and the subsequent rallies against PP (I guess this one could count as a negative too, but more info + awareness is always better), continued support for the victims of police violence and more police departments testing out body cameras, assorted technological and scientific advancements, and the possibility of a UN climate deal.

    I've been unhappy to hear about murder rates rising after many years of decline, the jailing of Kim Davis (should be fined or impeached, not put in jail), the refugee crisis, Donald Trump leading the Republican field, that stupid Trans-Pacific Partnership, and all the coddling and repression of ideas that's going on at college campuses around the country.

    All this is in no particular order and I'm sure I missed some things.

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    1. And of course, several of my positives involve things getting "less bad" or people reacting to bad things. But such is life.

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  56. Nubby, I agree. And I know we have talked pros and cons before. I am still "pro-education" and pro-university degree and post-graduate degrees (if it's all legit and useful and truthful and helpful). But I'm not nearly as militant or insistent about it as I was ten or twenty years ago (growing up and into my young adult years, it was unthinkable that a college degree was not a requirement for life in my eyes).

    Chris, have you ever wondered about the alliance between the gay lobby and the abortion lobby? It's a sort of unholy alliance and it's weird unless you realize that they both have the same "goals" so to speak. You should check out Planned Parenthood's Facebook page and such on the day of the gay "marriage" decision by SCOTUS. You would have thought that they were a gay "marriage" organization, that's how much that sick and evil organization identifies with the gay "rights" movement.

    Speaking of, what is a "right"? I'm seriously asking. You are thoughtful, so tell me your thoughts on what a "right" is and where they come from.

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  57. I know we ultimately agree. It's not a requirement for everyone, to be sure. Looking at the numbers gives the best overall picture, though. I think it’s always an important conversation to have, anyway. Too many 20-something's seem lost in terms of their education decisions.

    Just a few more thoughts to share and then I’ll bow out:

    I see Prager’s fallacy in that article is in asking, basically, “Do you know what university this person or that attended?” And then he says, “No, you don’t. And it doesn’t matter.”

    Of course it matters not to me. But it sure matters to the prospective employers. I say that as someone who knows a person who was, for a time, part of the interview panel/team responsible for interviewing prospective employees for both entry level and high level positions within a privately held company.

    It matters what school a person attended. It matters to get your foot in the door, even if it doesn’t keep you in the room. It matters as far as the simple logic goes: that the (more) prestigious school’s name on the resume will afford a person more and better job opportunity and placement, and therefore will probably mean better pay and chance at career success right off the bat. It matters especially if the person is applying for a technical position with nothing more than a clown college or useless degree on her resume.

    When we think of Ivy League careers we have to think law, medicine, and business. Those degrees from those places afford more opportunity and more chance at success. Is the cost justifiable? It depends on the ROI over a lifetime of work. That’s where we can actually look at the numbers.

    And I agree with Prager and you, that it doesn’t need to cost so much for a degree. One can attend a smaller school and get a worthy degree. Worthy=marketable. If you’re attending MIT for a geology degree that is just a very dumb decision. One doesn’t attend MIT for that. You do not want to leave the university unemployable.

    To the younger ones I know, I suggest:
    Get yourself a degree with specialized technical instruction. You want to get a degree that is specialized enough to bring a highly desired skill set into the competitive job market, yet broad enough that your degree overlaps several possible job capacities in several industries. Too much specialization paints you into a corner with little job opp. Not enough specialization means you don’t possess enough focused knowledge.

    Picture a Venn diagram using numerous sets. There’s your major in the center, and you have how many overlapping circles or ellipses of opportunity within various industries intersecting your major as a logical relation? Compare several. You do not want to leave college unemployable.

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  58. Leila, the abortion lobby has latched onto pretty much the whole left side of the aisle. It's like a tumor. There's a bit of sense behind it, in that many abortion rights supporters hold their position out of compassion for women, just like liberals tend to focus on compassion in other areas. But of course this only work due to the dehumanization of the unborn child. At its best, American liberalism is about watching out for the little guy, those who can't always fend for themselves, which is consistent with opposing abortion as well.

    Rights are entitlements or freedoms granted to citizens by their government. I tend to think of rights as separate from morality. Rights can in fact be created or destroyed by the government, but we're under no obligation to agree, and we may fight one way or the other. I believe the only true natural right is freedom of thought, that ultimately our minds are our own, because this is basically impossible to take away.

    Now, certainly, we can make good arguments on why certain rights might be acceptable and others not. It's not random. Here's my attempt at justifying basic human rights:

    I think that from the natural right to freedom of thought, we can derive the right to self-determination--if people's minds are free (which they are), important (certainly we have the power to reason and to perceive the world around us), and distinct from those of others (obviously true), then to respect people's minds we must allow them agency over their bodies and actions. This encompasses a right to life (the mind must continue), and a right to act as we wish (without compromising the ability of others to do the same, because there's no logical way to declare some people worthy of more rights than others). Furthermore, the right to life must exist realistically--therefore, no one should be placed in a situation where they cannot sustain themself. This means there must be freedom from as well as freedom to. This is why neglect of a child is unacceptable, this is why doctors must be obligated to save the lives of even patients who cannot afford treatment, this is why clean water must be made available, and so on. To enforce these sorts of rights, we must rely on social organization (at a lower scale) or government (at a higher scale).

    Beyond this, society should be free to determine additional rights as long as they don't interfere with the basics. Of course, a society can take the basics away, too. But it shouldn't.

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  59. Chris P-

    1) I believe the only true natural right is freedom of thought, that ultimately our minds are our own, because this is basically impossible to take away.

    You said this above to drive into this:

    … then to respect people’s minds we must allow them agency over their bodies and actions.

    How do you logically tie this to the notion that this benefits society?

    Do we need to “respect the mind” of serial killers and allow them “agency over their actions”, simply because they have thoughts (which, according to you, is “the only true natural right”) and then act on them? Are all minds coherent? All thoughts correct, valid, or sound? All opinions, when not grounded, worthy of respect?

    Freedom of conscience goes only so far. At some point it has to translate concretely. It requires testing.

    Do disembodied thoughts (or the “right” to those thoughts) ground anything?
    What about the fact that we have thoughts because we first have life? We can’t think if we’re dead. Is life not natural? Not a natural right?

    How does the right to life as a “true natural right” (or unalienable right, as per the Decl. of Ind.) not come before the right to freedom of conscience, in your philosophy?

    From where are you getting your notion of properly ordered rights?

    Your idea touches on why the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment both came into existence. But you’re not speaking to those, obviously, nor to the Declaration of Independence. What’s the reference here?

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  60. Chris P-

    2) You say “freedom of thought is the only true natural right”, then you say, “I tend to think of rights as separate from morality.” That’s the start of your idea or your philosophy. Then you kind of wandered off the reservation of logic since you did not actually illustrate your point with your comments that followed.

    Concretely test the coherence of your opinion:

    I can have free thoughts about curing diseases and apply those thoughts to medicine. Fine, I have proved those thoughts. I have done a moral good.

    I can have free thoughts about stealing a car. If I steal the car, those actions prove those thoughts to be immoral.

    There is a need to move from thought (theory) to test in real conditions (practice).
    Laws are just or unjust based on whether they allow or deny a deeper morality to be realized for the benefit of all of society- not just for an individual.

    If you’re talking about having morally neutral thoughts, that’s neither here nor there. They’re just thoughts and we don’t base laws on neutrality.

    3) this is why doctors must be obligated to save the lives of even patients who cannot afford treatment - you say.

    How does this take care of itself in the long run? What if no one can afford it?
    How do you afford to treat the next person? It’s not a self-sustaining thought that goes on forever.

    And how does this all tie together with your basic premise that “thoughts are the only true freedom”? Thoughts need to be tested.

    We need to see the conclusion of the thought. We need to see what happens when the rubber meets the road.

    We see it in legislation, and we can determine whether it’s just or unjust.
    We always eventually need to see it in practice, not just theory.

    How do you tie your belief here into the Declaration of Independence and the purposeful ordering of those rights? Or how do you tie it to the thinking of the notion of unalienable rights that go as far back as 1620 (Suarez)?

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  61. How do you logically tie this to the notion that this benefits society?

    Not every right has to benefit society as a whole. Rights ultimately protect individual people, though they should be applied equally. Society is not an end in itself.

    Do we need to “respect the mind” of serial killers and allow them “agency over their actions”, simply because they have thoughts

    If people are equal, rights must only exist to the extent that they don't interfere with those of others. If someone commits murder they are depriving the other person of life, which I said must be protected.

    What about the fact that we have thoughts because we first have life? We can’t think if we’re dead. Is life not natural? Not a natural right?

    We have thought because we have life. But our lives are important because we have thought. That's why killing plants is okay and killing people isn't. So I put thought first, and use it to justify the right to life.

    How does the right to life as a “true natural right” (or unalienable right, as per the Decl. of Ind.) not come before the right to freedom of conscience, in your philosophy?

    The right to freedom of conscience necessitates a right to life, if we're to agree that all people are equally worthy. I may be using one right to derive the other, but the result is that they are equal and inseparable.

    And how does this all tie together with your basic premise that “thoughts are the only true freedom”?

    I use "true" in the sense that the right to think as one wishes exists independent of the state. Can you say that for most "natural rights?" How natural are they if a simple court decision or constitutional amendment could strip them away? The government could declare that I be killed, and it would happen. But the government could not declare that I think circles are square, because my mind is my own.

    Let me be clear: My basic premise is that each person has a mind that is free, important, and distinct. Each person is equally important because our importance comes from the manner in which we exist, and no one exists "more" than another. I believe that to respect these facts is to guarantee the right to self-determination, which encompasses rights to life, property, etc. Nothing in nature guarantees these rights, but if we want to respect the basic facts about the human person then we are obligated to protect these rights for all people.

    Nothing about my argument guarantees good results, when the rubber meets the road. But it does disallow many bad results, and I believe it ultimately respects the human person, which should be the goal of human rights.

    I don't want to get sidetracked with the doctor comment, but I don't see a logical difference between requiring that the seriously ill receive treatment and requiring that children be fed, clothed, etc.

    And lastly: I'm not convinced that I'm correct about this! Leila asked me what I thought a right was, and where they came from. This isn't something I'd spent much time thinking about before. My answer consists of the ideas I had upon pondering her question for a little while. It doesn't have a particular historical basis or belong to a particular philosophical tradition. It might have some great big holes in it.

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  62. Chris P-

    Take your idea, Not every right has to benefit society as a whole. Rights ultimately protect individual people, though they should be applied equally.

    Are people are equal under the law or not? Do rights exist for all or not?

    You have to back up a step to answer the question, “What is the purpose of a right?”
    Rights are afforded to all. To all. To serve and benefit society as a whole. Indeed.
    This is why the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, after much deliberation and active pushing for it – to limit government power and to limit potential abuse of citizens by the gov’t. So rights serve all people.

    We have thought because we have life. But our lives are important because we have thought. That's why killing plants is okay and killing people isn't. So I put thought first, and use it to justify the right to life. - you say.

    Our lives are important not because we have freedom of thought, but because we exist (life). See, you’ve elevated thoughts above being. You’re exalting freedom of thought over the fundamental right to be born, to breathe air, to exist outside of a womb. We can only have liberty if we first have life. No liberty of thought without Life first. For thoughts to have or give meaning, there first must be “being” to even apprehend or imagine thoughts.

    Let me be clear: My basic premise is that each person has a mind that is free, important, and distinct. Each person is equally important because our importance comes from the manner in which we exist, and no one exists "more" than another. - you say.

    Not the manner, but the fact that we exist. Human dignity. Fundamental rights. These are not given by “thought” or “freedom of thought”.

    My answer consists of the ideas I had upon pondering her question for a little while. It doesn't have a particular historical basis or belong to a particular philosophical tradition. - you say.

    But you’ll need a reference at some point, because your philosophy is one of “freedom of thought leads us to self-determination”. So what does that look like in the way rights are voted upon or declared?

    Thoughts shift, does that make it okay if a judiciary has a “group thought shift” and declares that you’re not a person if you’re not 6’2”, with curly dark hair and hazel eyes? Fundamental rights need protection under the law, right?

    What do you make of shifting criteria used by judiciaries to hand down such powerful decisions such as RvW? Are these kinds of laws just or unjust, as they infringe on rights of those without the microphone?

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  63. People are absolutely equal under the law. If we put "society" before people in general, lots of bad things can happen. But guaranteeing basic human rights is still a positive for society.

    Fundamental rights absolutely need protection under the law. Laws can be unjust; "rights" can be unjust, and proper rights can go unprotected. Roe v. Wade is an injustice, but it's also something the government can do. It's wrong, and that's why we have to oppose it.

    I'm absolutely open to the idea that being alive alone is what makes us worthy of rights. Certainly, I say that simply being human makes us worthy of rights, respect, dignity--and that these things must apply to all humans, regardless of all external factors. So we might even be saying the same thing in different ways. However, I was trying to capture what it is about humanity that makes us worthy of rights we won't afford to cows or shrubs or whatever. What would you say makes humans unique? Why does a living human have rights that a living nonhuman doesn't? It must be more than life itself, because many things are alive.

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  64. However, I was trying to capture what it is about humanity that makes us worthy of rights we won't afford to cows or shrubs or whatever. What would you say makes humans unique? Why does a living human have rights that a living nonhuman doesn't? It must be more than life itself, because many things are alive.

    What makes us unique is our humanity. We’re not cows or shrubs- that’s it exactly. We have the ability to reason and to love. The idea of a God-given human dignity goes all the back to Suarez to Locke all the way to Jefferson.

    These men fleshed out the similar idea that humans had dignity and rights that were not given by a vote of a majority. They put this idea into words and governments acknowledged these rights. Our Declaration of Independence lists them as the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. None of which can ever be untied from the common good of all.

    They recognized the image of the Creator reflected in man because the capacity of man is very different from plant or animal, and they were doing a noble, just, and even holy thing, by protecting this observation of truth in legal documentation.

    That’s why I asked you for your reference to your own philosophy. It’s not enough to speak of thoughts as authority for rights. You have to reference history or another philosophy to some degree in order to get some context and detail to the thoughts, so to speak. Are you learning about US history in college?

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  65. I'm currently taking a class about a specific aspect of US history, but I haven't had a general American history class since coming here. I did score pretty well on the SAT US History subject test, though. I'm also taking an intro philosophy course, and some of our first readings have concerned justifying political systems. We've looked at some from Aristotle and Hobbes so far.

    You know, I considered just linking to a page on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy about some definition or justification of rights and saying "Yeah, pretty much that." But I don't think that would have made for good discussion.

    I didn't really set out to answer, "Why do the rights we have exist in our political system?" but rather "What are rights in general?" and "How are rights established?" My answers were "legal constructs" and then "by society/government" but that was kind of a flat answer, so I gave my own reason for why we should have certain rights, irrespective of any government's choice. If we lived in a horrible totalitarian state with no access to outside history and philosophy, we could still potentially come to the conclusion that the way it treated us was wrong, and should be fought against.

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  66. I didn't really set out to answer, "Why do the rights we have exist in our political system?" but rather "What are rights in general?" and "How are rights established?"

    Yes. Leila asked you, “What is a right?” And I think she asked, “Where do they come from?” I asked you to go a bit deeper with that line because it’s intellectually appropriate to examine where our declared and extrinsic rights come from, and consider the purpose of those rights, in order to tie into the larger idea that rights exist for a reason, for all people. Some are declared. Some are voted upon.

    And for reference of purpose, I pointed to the Bill of Rights (these rights exist in our Const. to protect US citizens from abuse of the US govt). And to our unalienable rights in the Declaration. That was the path I took for illustration, that’s all.

    My answers were "legal constructs" and then "by society/government"

    Rights are only legal constructs when they exist via positive laws (see the Constitution). Those are voted upon by a judiciary.

    Rights are not merely legal constructs in the Declaration of Independence. They are rights that are above any man-made voting body. They’re acknowledged as already existing for the flourishing of mankind. See? There’s nothing ‘legally constructed’ about the rights contained here, but they exist outside of anything constructed by man.

    That is the salient reason the two documents are separate to begin with. Tell your history prof that, if this subject comes up. Very important, and many people walk away from history courses not even understanding this basic point. Push your profs to teach to detail. Take advantage of their office hours and email. They should be accessible to you.

    I’m curious, you don’t have to answer, of course:
    Have you declared your major yet?
    If you are into your major courses, are the professors counseling you on career paths or suggesting options for when you graduate?

    Are they giving help as far as internship placement?

    They should be lining you up to help you for the real world, because what is learned within the insulated four walls of a classroom is not at all the real world.

    Universities are set up to reach out to businesses to get students placed upon graduation. Make sure you take advantage of this kind of help.

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  67. It's certainly true that the Declaration of Independence suggests the existence of rights beyond the whims of the state. I don't think it proves anything in itself, but it shows the prevailing mindset among those who founded this country.

    I'm still taking a variety of classes (general requirements and so on--it's only the start of sophomore year for me). The particular discipline I've studied the most of is economics, as of right now (even the history class I mentioned focuses on this area). I've also had and enjoyed a good amount of liberal arts classes. I might consider some kind of science as well, though the only really "hard" science I've enjoyed is biology. My school is pretty good about helping students with internships and finding work. I'm also actively looking for work now in order to earn some money and bolster my resume.

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  68. It's certainly true that the Declaration of Independence suggests the existence of rights beyond the whims of the state. I don't think it proves anything in itself, but it shows the prevailing mindset among those who founded this country.

    What were you looking for it to explicitly prove? It proves that it follows the mindset of several philosophers and/or scholastics before our country was even born (see Suarez and Locke’s 2 treatises on Gov’t). It proves that rights are not always legal constructs. Doesn’t need to prove anything beyond that.

    The particular discipline I've studied the most of is economics, as of right now (even the history class I mentioned focuses on this area). I've also had and enjoyed a good amount of liberal arts classes. I might consider some kind of science as well, though the only really "hard" science I've enjoyed is biology.

    My two cents from the post-college, post-corporate real world: If a person is going to go the route of an economics major, he or she should couple that with business finance. There are way more job op’s with business tied to that than a person would have than with an economics degree alone. So much more choice in various roles: economic trend analysis, corporate analysis, corporate finance, accounting, strategic management (mergers and restructures, etc.), etc.

    Liberal arts degrees (if anyone goes that route) are useless. They probably won’t get a person hired for anything that pays. It’s too broad without any specialized skill set. Unemployable, not truly marketable.

    I suggest to my college-bound family members: You want to make your degree do half of the work for you, before you even submit copies of your resumes. Give yourself advantage and get into business finance or the harder sciences. These offer the best career op. You want to hit the post-graduation era of your life with a competitive degree. Just my two cents.

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    1. I wouldn't call any degree "useless." Thinking ahead towards one's career is important, but so is gaining knowledge in general. Neither of my parents ended up using their undergrad degrees (my mom is in academia but never teaches any classes relating to her undergrad major of archaeology; my dad went to seminary after college and has since then worked only as a preacher and in hospice care). Employability is important and practicality is important, but everyone I trust has emphasized to me that college is not just about lining up specific jobs.

      Regardless, if I do pursue a degree with few specific applications, I'll want to combine it with something more practical. Many of my friends are double majoring, and I even know one poor soul who's triple majoring in English, Math and Physics while somehow keeping time to practice for choral recitals.

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  69. Didn't mean to break Leila's reply rule; I clicked it by mistake.

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  70. I would definitely call some useless, even though it's wiser to have than not, that's only because Bureau of Labor stats reflect that reality.

    Liberal Arts majors was just listed as one of the most useless degrees of 2015, with an unemployment rate of 9.2% Wooowww.
    The article described these majors as the laughing stock of college degree programs. No specialization, like I mentioned.

    Other worst majors listed were: Anthropology, Communications, Criminal Justice, English, Fine arts, Family Studies, History. That's not exhaustive. There are either no jobs for these degrees, low initial earnings and low median earnings.

    If college isn't just about lining up jobs/careers then what is it for these days? Learning about stuff for the sake of learning? Not anymore.

    College life is about a whole experience, sure. But when you exit at the end of the day (or the 4 yr stint), you'd be wise to leave with that higher education specialized enough (a competitive degree) to get a better job right out of the gate. Otherwise, your ROI (return on investment) will be horrible and you (the student) will probably be strapped with debt for many years.

    Make your schooling work for you. Practicality is the way to go.

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    1. * There are no jobs for these degrees

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  71. What the numbers can't show: Who's actually getting the jobs? Are brilliant students missing out on jobs because of their less useful degrees? Or are the best liberal arts majors all employed with decent paying jobs while the lazy ones are still scratching their heads about why the cisheteropatriarchy is keeping them from their six figure incomes?

    Also, I take "bad degree" lists with a grain of salt because many of them ignore grad school and only calculate the degree's "worth" on its own. For example, is psychology a "bad major?" Actual psychologists, with their fancier degrees, are doubtless doing a lot better than folks who took the basic degree and left.

    I have the fortune of not worrying about debt due to a mixture of my college fund and a good scholarship that lopped off 75% of my tuition. Though of course it would be rather disrespectful to my parents if I didn't get much out of my degree.

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  72. What the numbers can't show: Who's actually getting the jobs? Are brilliant students missing out on jobs because of their less useful degrees? Or are the best liberal arts majors all employed with decent paying jobs while the lazy ones are still scratching their heads about why the cisheteropatriarchy is keeping them from their six figure incomes?

    What? The employment data of those numbers is based on the particular degree earned not on open jobs in that area.

    In other words, they canvas: “You got a sociology degree, what are you doing? What do you make? What field are you in? Oh, not sociology? So then …”

    It’s about tracking numbers, getting the stats. Because if all sociology degreed people got better jobs, then the salary data would be higher. It would reflect that for sure.

    Stats are for people considering getting that degree. What should I expect to make and what is the job availability or employment rate?

    As to the “scratching your head” comment, salary stats are based on people working who are earning salaries - hence the term, right?
    The unemployment numbers are based on the unemployed as a total population of those who have that degree, so those are very good stats.

    That’s all in the Bureau of Labor stats, Chris. We can most certainly tell all of what you’re looking for. Go peruse their page. It’s overwhelming data, actually. All the stats you need to see for national, state-wide, and metropolitan regions. We can see all of it.

    And to your “bad degree” comment, go find the stat that suits what you’re looking for and we can talk about it. Expected salary and employment rate are the two biggies to look at.

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  73. There aren't set-aside "English major jobs." So if 9% of English majors are unemployed, that might mean that English degrees are failing many students--OR it might mean that many students with English degrees are failing under their own power.

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  74. It's sort of a third-variable issue. Is the assumption that those pursuing all degrees are equally industrious a valid one? Statistically, might there be many more lazy gender studies majors than lazy computer engineering majors?

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  75. To clarify, I use "lazy" to mean "not the sort of person you'd want to employ," not "not trying to get work."

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  76. ?
    Chris.
    For your example of English majors, the opposite can be said about the other 91%.
    If 91% are employed then no one is failing and no degree is failing. One who wants to know about the 9% unemployment rate should ask the 91% who are employed how to be successful, because they figured it out.

    I mean, those stats are there to show you a picture, “Hey, if you get an English degree, you can expect this…(employment rate of this, unemployment rate of this, initial pay of this, median pay of this).” Every job has an unemployment rate.

    You want the weaker degrees to reflect what? The accurate picture is there with the stats.

    Chris, All degrees will never be equally valid based on supply and demand of the job market. We're wandering off the logical path. What are you looking for?

    There are only a select number of jobs. Maybe 99% of the people with a given degree are brilliant and not lazy, but the corp's that would hire them are being taxed too high and don't have job openings. You can't capture "undesirable employee" with an unemployment rate. That number just shows you a snapshot of the job market when people are out of work, but actively looking for work, with that particular degree.

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  77. Sorry, I'm still not caught up! Been away with the grandbabies and daughters and one son-in-law and am so far behind (but for a good reason). :)

    I will be caught up soon, but in the meantime, thanks for keeping the conversation going. I see that it's taken a turn to new subjects, but I don't mind that!

    Hugs and kisses to all! :)

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