This time it’s sex education. It used to be day care. France was the poster child, with its government-run, taxpayer-subsidized centers where mamans could pack off les enfants for the whole day, fulfilling the feminist dream of turning every mother into a full-time working mother whether she liked it or not. Then, um, France stopped looking quite so wonderful, after all that Renault-burning and the reports of the free-falling French economy. So now the new poster children are Sweden and Switzerland, whose governments have solved the the teen-pregnancy problem and the teen sexually transmitted disease problem by sending out the message that there’s nothing wrong with teen-age sex.

Here’s the glowing uncritical report in today’s Washington Post on a study conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Institute:

“In Sweden, compulsory sex education starts when children are 10 to 12. Without parental consent, teens can get free medical care, free condoms, prescriptions for inexpensive oral contraceptives and general advice at youth clinics. Emergency contraceptives (the so-called morning-after pill) are available without a prescription.

“The study cited Sweden as the “clearest of the case-study countries in viewing sexuality among young people as natural and good….”

And here’s Pierre-Andre Michaud of the University of Lausanne Hospital:

“‘In many European countries — Switzerland in particular — sexual intercourse, at least from the age of 15 or 16 years, is considered acceptable and even part of normative adolescent behavior.'”…

“Abstinence, he said, is not something the Swiss press on teens. ‘We think it’s unfair. It’s useless. It’s inefficient. We have been advocating the use of the condom . . . and I think that we tend to be successful.’

“:Joan-Carles Surís, head of the research group on adolescent medicine at the University of Lausanne, puts it another way:

“‘The main difference is that in the States sexual activity is considered a risk. Here we consider it a pleasure.'”

Notably absent from the story, which quotes many a sex-ed bureaucrat in both countries, are any reactions from Swiss and Swedish parents to the barrage of government propaganda encouraging their 15-year-olds to engage in the “pleasure” of limitless uncommitted premarital sex behind their parents’ backs. It would be interesting, for example, to hear what mothers and fathers from Sweden’s burgeoning Islamic population have to say.

Implicit in the story is the Mainstream Media’s usual bias against the abstinence-education that many of our elected representatives seem to prefer. The idea is that American society sends young people a “mixed message” about sex that confuses the kids so badly that they forget to use birth control. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. We have exactly as many sex-is-great enthusiasts as do the Western Euros among our own chattering classes, especially in our education and “health” bureaucracies. Remember Joyce Elders, her of the condom the tree? Open up any U.S. magazine pitched at teen-age girls–Seventeen, Glamour, Jane, you name it–and you won’t see much of a “mixed message” about whether it’s good or bad to hold onto your virginity.

The fact remains that both Sweden and Switzerland are militantly secular societies with culturally homogeneous populations (except for those Muslims, who never count in studies like these) and disastrously declining birthrates among all segments of the population no matter what age. I don’t exactly know why nations in demographic death spirals are supposed to be models for the rest of us. Those two countries may look like poster children for–what? unlimited sex without consequences upon reaching the age of puberty?–right now. Just give them another 20 years. How many Swedish and Swiss sex-ed bureaucrats will still be around to crow?