The interview below with the Texas Tribune was done during Rick Perry’s successful run for re-election as Governor of Texas last year. In it, I hear an echo of George W. Bush’s good ol’ boy stupidity that is frightening. Listen and look. Do you recognize the lack of focus, the evasiveness, the failed logic, the goofy chuckle and aw shucks who gives a shit about the facts attitude we had in the White House for 8 long and ugly years? The resemblance in style, or lack of it, between Bush and Perry is uncanny.
Perry’s approach to sex education reminds me of Wilhelm Reich’s book The Mass Psychology Of Fascism, in which Reich theorizes that
Suppression of the natural sexuality in the child, particularly of its genital sexuality, makes the child apprehensive, shy, obedient, afraid of authority, good and adjusted in the authoritarian sense; it paralyzes the rebellious forces because any rebellion is laden with anxiety; it produces, by inhibiting sexual curiosity and sexual thinking in the child, a general inhibition of thinking and of critical faculties. In brief, the goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation. At first the child has to submit to the structure of the authoritarian miniature state, the family; this makes it capable of later subordination to the general authoritarian system. The formation of the authoritarian structure takes place through the anchoring of sexual inhibition and anxiety.
Perry and his creationist state board of education eliminated two six month sex education classes in Texas schools in 2004 and replaced them with abstinence-only education, which, to my mind, is not education. In 2010, Texas had a teen birth rate more than 50% above the national average. It also led in the rate of repeat teen pregnancy .
Female college students have to get parental consent to get birth control in parts of Texas.
Eliminating sex education in the schools and replacing it with a rule of abstinence keeps teenagers in the dark about sex at a time when they should be given the guidance and tools to approach sex intelligently. Telling kids to suppress their sexuality is like telling a Priest to keep his hands off the altar boys. You want to see sexual suppression at work, just take a look at the Catholic Church or the Nazis…or Texas.
Teenagers with a healthy, informed approach to sex are more inclined to make the right choices about when, where and how. Keep em stupid and they’ll do stupid things. Making it impossible for them to get birth control and guilt tripping them with religious screeds just makes things worse. Thus, we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation in Texas. Additionally, there’s a sexually transmitted disease boom in the state. “Just say no” seems to be saying yes to syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV. The philosophy of ignore it and it will go away just doesn’t work.
Imagine having Rick Perry counsel your kid on sex.