- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 12, 2001

'Parasite singles'

"More than half of Japanese women are still single by 30 and nearly all of them live at home with Mom and Dad. Labeled 'parasite singles,' they pay no rent, do no housework and come and go freely. Although they earn, on average, just $27,000 a year, they are Japan's leading consumers, since their entire income is disposable.

"Japan's population is aging more rapidly than any on the planet by 2015, one in four Japanese will be elderly. The birthrate has sunk to 1.34 per woman, well below replacement levels. Last year, Japan dropped from the eighth-largest nation in the world to the ninth.

"Demographers predict that within two decades the shrinking labor force will make pension taxes and health care costs untenable, not to mention that there will not be enough workers to provide basic services for the elderly.

"Politicians, economists and the media blame 'parasite women' for the predicament. Masahiro Yamada, a sociologist who coined the derogatory but instantly popular term 'parasite single,' says, 'Their lives are spoiled. The only thing that's important to them is seeking pleasure.'"

Peggy Orenstein, writing on "Parasites," in the New York Times Magazine


'Strangling Judaism'

"Part of the reason that some Jews today have such a hard time connecting to Torah is that they are so busy projecting their own voices, that they can no longer hear the still, small voice of God. Modern Jewish religious ceremony has become a form of performance art designer ceremonies with the celebrant at center stage.

"At the typical modern Jewish wedding, for instance, the traditional formula, 'You are sanctified to me with this ring, according to the laws of Moses and Israel,' is likely to be replaced by 'I promise to help you grow as a person.' Commenting on one such ceremony, David Gelernter notes that something vital is lost with the refusal to recite the traditional formula a connection to Jewish grooms and brides throughout the centuries.

"'The whole point of a wedding ceremony is to offer the couple a chance to enter into something bigger than themselves,' he writes in Commentary. 'But in modern America, there is nothing bigger than yourself. The infantile insistence that religious ritual conform to you rather than the other way around is the essence of modern American culture and is strangling Judaism.'"

Jonathan Rosenblum in "Narcissism, Jewish-style" in the summer issue of Toward Tradition magazine


'Thou shalt not'

"Ultimately, civilized human behavior is based on the traditional moral values that come from religious teachings. One of those teachings is honesty. So Condit should have honestly disclosed all information to law-enforcement authorities.

"However, in addition to the moral dictate of honesty, there is the religious value of marital fidelity. It is codified in the Sixth Commandment, which says plainly, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' To miss the point that the married Condit is a serial womanizer overlooks something much more basic: Gary Condit disobeyed the Sixth Commandment. Repeatedly.

"Judeo-Christian religions teach that marital fidelity and faithfulness are the building blocks of a civilization and society. Without them, there can be no stability. This is not a trifling point. It is a major point. It's not merely that he covered up the affair, but that he had the affair.

"'He wanted to protect his family and his own privacy,' says Condit lawyer Abbe Lowell. Oh? How does marriage-wrecking infidelity protect his family?

"Indeed, Condit's poor personal choices have left a trail of wreckage. His marriage is ruined. His congressional staff is furious at him. His congressional constituency is ready to unseat him. The life of Chandra Levy looks to be lost. Is it not right then that Condit's flawed private decisions should be placed under public scrutiny?"

Larry Kudlow, writing on "No Sixth Sense," yesterday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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