Adults Behave Better When Kids Are Around

With the data becoming ever clearer about America’s declining birthrates, Tim Carney notes the arguments of those who believe this trend might be a good thing—and points to a recent study that demonstrates a few of the benefits accrued by a society whose members have children:

The researchers, led by the British psychologist Lukas Wolf, tried to separate out confounding factors. They didn’t want to see if parents were more or less pro-social—or young people or women or anything like that. They tried to discern whether people in general were more generous and pro-social simply because children were around.

One aspect of the study involved fundraising efforts on different main streets. The researchers “recorded the number of children and adults on a shopping street and collected donations from adult passersby for a cause not specifically related to children.” They found “a significant positive correlation between the proportion of children present and the number of donations.” This wasn’t explained at all by parents being more generous, the researchers said. It was the presence of children that seemed to make a difference.

Wolf and colleagues also conducted eight experiments, online or in a lab, where they asked participants to describe different settings or situations, some of which involved children. This divided the participants into those who had children on their mind and those who didn’t. Both groups were then asked about their aspirations toward generosity, service, duty, and similar pro-social virtues. The experiments, with more than 2,000 participants, found small but significant effects suggesting that thinking about children makes people more conscientious.

Being around children makes us all behave better. So we should worry about a society with fewer and fewer of them.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Children, Family, Fertility

Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain