Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Culture of Life

Yes, here in America, certain people like to crow about the Culture of Life. Life is precious, don't you know. I mean, unless that life is adult. Or is a batshit-insane guy to whom a jury "only" handed a life without parole sentence (Oh, and since when is it okay for the President to piss all over a jury's decision, anyway?).

Well, yet again, we see that rhetoric is more important than results. A recently-released report by Save the Children notes that, of industrialized countries, the United States has the next-to-worst infant mortality rate. Who'd we squeak by ahead of?


That's right. Latvia.

Would someone please explain to me how my country could ever possibly be compared to Latvia? Jesus! Latvia! America is possessed of vast natural resources, a powerful economy, and a nominally stable political system. Here in the US, we have no fear of invasion by powerful neighbors, and the mainland has been untouched by the ravages of warfare for almost two centuries. This country is rich, rich, rich. People here have more shit than anywhere else I've ever seen. Latvia, on the other hand, is a tiny country that has been devastated by war twice in the last 100 years, and, for just over fifty years, had to deal with the inept, corrupt, and occasionally brutal governance imposed by the USSR after World War Two.

Our per capita GDP is three times that of Latvia's. In just about every conceivable measure, the US, thanks to history, geography, and no small amount of luck, is far ahead of tiny Latvia.

Yet we're very nearly tied with respect to infant mortality. Can anyone explain why this situation should exist? I'm kind of at a loss here.

The US tied in infant mortality with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Malta.

I guess you can tell that the Save the Children folks are a little generous with their definition of "industrialized." Yet we still came in near the bottom.

Labels: , ,