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Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Nothing Threatens the Future of the Next Generation More Than" Unruh's Rhetoric about Abstinence Education

Dr. Allen Unruh falls into his usual pattern of hyperbole, absurdity, and misunderstanding of political reality with a screed on his wife's Abstinence Clearinghouse blog. He opens with this exaggeration:

Nothing threatens the future of the next generation more than defunding abstinence education.

Unruh likes threat-maximization rhetoric. Recall how he addressed a July Tea Party in Sioux Falls:

Nothing threatens our freedom more than the government taking over health care because it will never be reversed.

Or this Dakota Voice essay from Unruh in 2005:

Decades of judicial activism have made the Supreme Court the greatest threat to American Freedom.

(Note to Allen: greatest is a superlative. Like in Highlander, there can be only one.)

Step one when you know you have a weak argument: inflate the danger to unparalleled proportions. Forget that your own actions demonstrate you don't believe what you're saying. After all, if the Unruhs believed that defunding abstinence education was the greatest threat to our future, they would have poured time and treasure into state ballot measures that would have promoted abstinence education, not abortion bans. Never mind that. Just stoke the emotions of the moment.

Unruh's "argument" only gets worse:

The principles of teaching abstinence are the only proven and tested ways to promote a life of success, health and happiness.

I really don't recall abstinence education forming the bedrock of my education at Madison HS. My curriculum revolved around an axis of arts, science, free and creative expression, and healthy doses of butt-chewing from tough teachers who kept my nose to the grindstone while keeping their noses out of my sex life (which really wasn't all that lively in high school). And here I am, twenty years later, feeling successful, healthy, and happy.

Unruh doesn't just commit logical fallacies: he embraces them:

Let’s look at the slippery slope.

The good chiropractor proceeds to associate a lack of abstinence education with drug use, divorce, depression, suicide, and gangs. (If he'd have just thrown in nuclear war, he'd be ready for a high school policy debate round.) He can never draw the actual links between this one minor education policy and all those massive harms. He simply avers that only abstinence education—only!—can offer kids "hope... freedom... a future... reality." Only abstinence education can warn them away from ruin and improve their lives.

Forget all that bunk about good nutrition, plenty of sleep, competition, sports, and better teacher pay helping our kids learn more. Fund abstinence education, or we will all die!

As gravy, Unruh also says single parents, who in his world probably didn't pay attention to their abstinence education, are unfit to raise kids:

over 60% are raised in a single parent home before they are 15 years old leaving them with a skewed view of relationships and emotional depression.

In other words, single moms, how dare you put your self-gratification above the well-being of your children? If you're knocked up, get married! Stay married! If you don't have a husband, we'll all die! (At least I think that's the subtext here. I could be wrong.)

I won't go so far as to claim that Allen Unruh's rhetoric is the single greatest danger our children face. But pumping them full of bad science and illogical arguments certainly won't prepare them to be intelligent, responsible citizens... unless, of course, they have teachers who can effectively use Unruh's rhetoric to train the kids to tune their B.S. meters.

Dr. Unruh cries out for some enviro-mental-ism:
In an age where environmentalists are passing countless laws to eliminate all pollution of the air and water, why is it that pollution of the mind is epidemic and not a concern?

Au contraire, Dr. Unruh. Pollution of the mind is very much a concern. That's why I blog, to clean up the mental pollution that comes from outlets like the Abstinence Clearinghouse.

Oh yeah, and did I mention abstinence education doesn't work? Why yes I did. More than once.


  1. The primary consequence of defunding Abstinence Education that the Unruh's are worried is that the gravy train of federal grants to their "non-profit" will stop running.

    Nice work if you can get it.

  2. defend them all: abstinence clearinghouse, planned parenthood -- all those who use our tax dollars to push their ideas of sex on our public schools. stick to the actual subjects that help us compete with those foreign nations, who are kicking our butts in math and science.

    kids will come out of school knowing all about keeping their pants zipped up or knowing how to roll condoms, but they couldn't put a sentence together to even start a blog.

    such hyperbole in fighting for their piece of the pie, from both sides, is as annoying as it is greedy.

    rob regier

  3. Steve Sibson10/02/2009 6:16 AM

    Nothing is a bigger threat to America's future than allowing the Progressive left to destroy the foundational principles of America.

  4. Sure, Steve, allowing anyone to destroy the foundational principles of America would be a big problem. You can make a logical case that allowing that to happen would be a greater threat to our future than anything else. You're still seeing boogeymen, but you have a better shot of making a logical case for your contention than Dr. Unruh, who picks one tiny public policy that lines his pockets and explodes it into the salvation of life as we know it.


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