Ed West hates teenagers, gays and making a coherent argument – loves sardine cities and tradition

In the words of The Joker, “I have found myself an enema”.

Performing a spot of research into accurate, rational arguments for and against so-called eco-towns, I stumbled upon this nonsensical article by social commentator for The Telegraph, Ed West.

To quickly nip that article, titled “For a greener Britain, we should build jails not eco-towns”, in the bud: West argues that we’d be better off living in ‘compact cities’, but that this would require people behaving better, so cops should be harassing teenage gangs (presumably including all young people hanging around in groups – as socialising young people are wont to do) and, basically, do their job by arresting criminals. Which I tend to assume they’re doing. When someone argues that police should be arresting people who are committing crimes, the suggestion is that they’re not. No matter what political party is in charge, I’m fairly confident the police will still be aiming to arrest criminals, meaning this is usually a pretty accurate indicator that the person making the point hasn’t really got one.

Ed West’s view of the world appears to be diametrically opposed to mine. Just some of the more obvious signs of the anti-Crunk are as follows:

  1. A rose-tinted view of a mythical social golden age – usually combined with an assumption that the time we’re living in represents the worst things have ever been
  2. Nothing threatens the security of the country more than our children (well, other people’s children). Despite rising test scores, they’re also dumber than ever. Conversely, they’re being taught too much about certain subjects (sex), which somehow means they’re making less intelligent decisions about certain things (sex).
  3. It’s not racist to think that immigration is the second worst thing ever. It’s not homophobic to think that homosexuality is the worst thing ever.
  4. People getting married and staying married will solve all of our problems.
  5. Vague, contradictory, anti-human dogma that is thousands of years old should forever be our primary source of moral guidance – and screw any culture whose own thousand-year-old dogma challenges that.

Ed West’s latest twisted post is a bitter rant against the below quote by Terry Prendergast who works for Marriage Care (an agency associated with the catholic church):

“Statistically, children do best in a family where the adult relationship is steady, stable and loving. Note that I stress adult, not married, since there is no evidence that suggests that children do best with heterosexual couples.”

This seems to make sense to me. To Ed West, however, “what [Prendergast’s] saying is untrue”. He doesn’t really explain why this comment is untrue, he only references a study showing the better lives of children raised by married couples compared to those raised by single parents. Which, when you think about it, clearly supports Prendergast’s opinion that a steady, stable and loving relationship works best. I would like to know if a study comparing children raised by non-married couples in a long-term relationship with single parent children would show similar results. Prendergast seems to think it would, I would tend to agree and consider it obvious, while West doesn’t actually formulate any argument against this. On what grounds then is he claiming the statement is untrue?

The rest of the article does nothing more than quote further extracts from the speech, assuming the reader will disagree without offering anyone with an open mind an argument of why they should. Pointless.

Clearly, the most contentious part of the speech was the second sentence, that there is no evidence suggesting children do best with heterosexual couples. Presumably, this was the more ‘untrue’ part of the speech and is what really gets West’s goat… Here are some extracts from West’s article which lead me to believe this:

“In double-blind test after double-blind test all studies have shown that children in old-fashioned marriages have an almost unassailable advantage over those in “non-conventional” set-ups.”

“Children do best educationally, behaviourally and in every other sphere when raised by two original biological, married parents.”

Let’s be clear that those studies are only comparing married (i.e. “stable”) units with broken families (what West misleadingly terms “non-conventional”). I should point out that the findings of these results have been challenged anyway. Regardless, West is twisting these studies to argue against the claim that there is no evidence to suggest same-sex couples raising children will be any worse at it than heterosexual couples. Twisting is right because that’s not what the studies show at all.

When challenged more about the same-sex issue in the comments section of the blog, West completely contradicts himself:

“In terms of gay couples its hard to do stats because its an entirely new area…”

So, is he saying there is no evidence!? That’s exactly the statement he’s claiming is untrue! To be fair to the man, I’ll quote the rest of his comment in full:

“…But children do far, far better when they’re brought up by two biological parents who are married. No other family model comes anywhere near, which is why his speech is so dishonest. His/her parents being married (currently not an option for gay couples, admittedly not their fault) is the key factor in determining a child’s future wellbeing.”

Currently, the only statistics are looking at two biological parents, meaning any question of sexual preference can not be commented on – unless to say there is no evidence! And, to labour a point, the stats are comparing a stable relationship with broken families – which is not the “family model” Prendergast is suggesting as “the best”!

West should have no argument here, as a careful analysis of his position shows he actually agrees with the statement. What’s obvious is that questioning the institution of marriage and supporting the suitability of same-sex parents counters West’s personal, prejudiced opinion and he is instinctively compelled to oppose on dubious, religious ‘moral’ grounds rather than from a position of logic, rationality and humanity. I think it’s remarkable he managed to write that entire blog post without engaging the higher functions of his brain once.

In summary:

  1. Prendergast said that the best environment for a child to be raised is by loving adults in a stable relationship.
  2. He also said that there is no evidence that heterosexual relationships are better.
  3. West said both these statements were untrue.
  4. He then reels out statistics comparing children raised in stable relationships (represented by married couples) with children raised in unstable relationships (separated parents).
  5. When considered, these statistics can be seen to not counter Prendergast’s first claim – and could be seen as supporting it.
  6. He uses these statistics to suggest children who have been raised by same-sex couples will be worse off.
  7. He later admits that there is no evidence to support this view – thereby agreeing with Prendergast’s second statement.
  8. Any extrapolation from the aforementioned studies concluding that non-heterosexual couples will raise their children in an environment worse than heterosexual couples is completely misleading – the studies only compare stable with unstable relationships and in no way look at the impact of sexuality.
  9. Ed West is a tool.

Until next time…

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2 thoughts on “Ed West hates teenagers, gays and making a coherent argument – loves sardine cities and tradition

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