The Texas House last Wednesday passed its version of the State’s spending budget. In the course of that, there was debate over Congressman Stuart Spitzer’s (R, Kaufman) amendment to reallocate $3 million from Texas’ HIV and STD prevention programs to its abstinence sex education programs. That amendment debate included this…foolishness:

Congressman Harold Dutton, Jr (D, Houston), asked Spitzer—a surgeon—whether abstinence had worked for him personally.

“It did,” Spitzer replied. “I’ve had sex with one woman in my life, and that’s my wife.”

Not content with his embarrassment (or simply unable to recognize it), Dutton pressed the matter.

Is that the first woman you asked?

Even at the State level, Democrats shamelessly assume their own shortcomings are held by everyone else, too. Psychologists call that (absent the qualifier) projecting. I add the qualifier because I don’t assume these highly educated and intelligent Democratic Party men and women really are that stupid or insensitive.

4 thoughts on “Projecting

  1. Is it embarrassing? It is obviously intended to identify a big issue here, that “abstinence” programmes are pretty much owned by the religious and mainly supported by a lobby of radically monogamous people, so is there any evidence at all they “work” outside preaching to the converted?

    STI and HIV programmes might promote abstinence or they might not; but they are based on teaching actual science!

    Where is the actual threat to society on this issue, i.e. why would we want them to “work”? The threat to society is surely what Americans call “**unplanned** pregnancy”? Which programme might better address the threat?

    • The issue of whether abstinence programs are more or less effective than the STD/HIV programs vis-a-vis their respective goals was well identified during the course of the debate. Dutton’s question was plainly intended to embarrass Spitzer, and he wound up embarrassing himself, though whether he recognized that is an open question.

      There’s also the matter of relative need. STD/HIV are problems, certainly, for those at risk. However, there’s a considerably smaller risk there than there is of unwanted pregnancy. As you note, abstinence programs are promoted by the mainstream, and abstinence has a pretty good track record. Immaculate conception is quite rare.

      I’ll leave your inability to recognize the problems to families and to society at large created by unwanted pregnancies to your own puzzlement.

      Eric Hines

  2. Puzzlement is normal for me Eric, this is true. I don’t know the men involved but surely if monogamy is the “mainstream” in that part of the world then it should be hard to embarrass someone over the issue. Obviously the later comment was a crass joke, pretty funny though. Abstinence has an excellent track record, “abstinence programmes” on the other hand…

    • The fundamental principle of monogamy is mainstream throughout the world. Even those cultures that have polygamy generally expect the spouses (once and future) to be faithful to each other and not stray outside the marriage or before the marriage.

      Of course, it’s a principle (too) often honored in the breach, and Dutton was hoping to catch Spitzer out. The embarrassment turned out to be his own in the attempt.

      Abstinence programs, like all human programs, are flawed. More so than STD/HIV prevention programs? It’s hard to say; the two sets have differing goals. Still, beyond the persons involved, STD/HIV, at least in Texas, is a smaller problem than unwanted pregnancies.

      Eric Hines

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