Foreign Policy has posted its list of the five worst places to be a kid. Iraq was #1, no surprise there. #2 is Zimbabwe, with 12% of children dying before the age of five. #3 is the quickly failing Democratic Republic of Congo. #4, India, in which 12 million children are engaged in labor instead of education.
Why? Smoking, drinking and teen pregnancy. Here's FP's assessment of the problems:
Kids in Britain, while far better off than most children in the developing world, are in shockingly bad shape compared with their counterparts in other high-income countries. According to a recent U.N. report, Britain is the worst nation for children among 21 economically advanced countries around the world. The report found that Britain ranks worst in the number of kids who smoke, abuse alcohol and drugs, have unprotected sex, and get pregnant at a young age. It also found that kids in Britain have poor relations with their parents and friends, and that nearly a third have no desire to do anything but unskilled work. What’s more, 3.8 million kids in Britain are living in poverty, despite extensive government antipoverty efforts.
This is the kind of insidious erosion of the social fabric and of social services that has characterized the last decade in many countries, several of them in Western Europe. One day, a proud country wakes up to find its children alienated and at risk for diseases of all kinds.
What FP doesn't point out is the role of this trend on the growth of home-grown British terrorists. What percentage of those 3.8 million children living in poverty are immigrants or first generation children of immigrants? How much of the seething anger that we've seen in the banlieue is similarly rooted?
Civilization is a continuing challenge; never a fait accompli. It is deeply troubling to find one of the greatest nations on earth backsliding in such a fundamental manner.