. . . from a traditional nuclear family.1 From NewsBusters:
NY Times Bids Farewell to Traditional Family
By Katie Yoder | November 27, 2013 | 10:03
The “American Dream”of a traditional nuclear family is getting harder and harder to come by, and the New York Times can hardly contain its glee.
The Times’ entire Nov. 26 “Science Times” section was devoted to the “redefined” American family. In her featured articles, NYT reporter Natalie Angier identified traditional family as a thing of the past: “the old-fashioned family plan of stably married parents residing with their children remains a source of considerable power in American – but one that is increasingly seen as out of reach to all but the educated elite.”
What’s taking its place? A lot of things the Times really likes: “Same-sex parents. Cohabiting couples. Voluntary kin. Children with parents in prison. Immigrant Americans. What we thought of as the typical American family is being rapidly redefined.”
Angier’s definition of family grew to include even singles. “Single people live alone and proudly consider themselves families of one – more generous and civic-minded than so-called ‘greedy marrieds,’” she argued.
To prove her point, Angier quoted author Bella DePaulo on how singles stay more “in touch” with others and their community. What are those silly married couples doing? Spending time on relationships and family? It just goes to show that any behavior or lifestyle – good, bad or indifferent – can be rationalized into an unquestionable civic virtue by urban liberals.
Read the rest here.
The sentence that got my attention is one that Mrs Yoder quoted, somewhat out of order:
At the same time, the old-fashioned family plan of stably married parents residing with their children remains a source of considerable power in America — but one that is increasingly seen as out of reach to all but the educated elite.
Sorry, but the ability to marry is available to any heterosexual couple who are not consanguineous or legally married to other people, and while people can, and do, blow thousands and thousands of dollars on extravagant weddings, getting married can be inexpensive: a marriage license is (relatively) inexpensive,2 and whatever fee a legal marriage officiant will charge. Getting married is not “out of reach” by any means.
The very next paragraph was:
“We’re seeing a class divide not only between the haves and the have-nots, but between the I do’s and the I do nots,” Dr. (Stephanie) Coontz said. Those who are enjoying the perks of a good marriage “wouldn’t stand for any other kind,” she said, while those who would benefit most from marital stability “are the ones least likely to have the resources to sustain it.”
And that is pure bovine feces. There are many working class and even poor people who have managed to get married and stay married and have their children live with them through the children’s minority. The “resource” to sustain a stable marriage is not money or property or family connections, but simply the will to stay married, the discipline to work through the rough spots, and the sense to see that an argument over something doesn’t mean that your spouse hates your guts.
Dr Coombs had it exactly backward. As we have already noted, marriage increases prosperity. The economic advantages of being married are legion, and, as Gallup noted, being legally married results in having more disposable income than any other living arrangement.3
Simply put: you don’t have to be well-to-do to get married; getting married helps you to become well-to-do.
The Times article noted all of the new family living arrangements out there:
Families, they say, are becoming more socially egalitarian over all, even as economic disparities widen. Families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago — than even half a year ago.
How can one miss the obvious: if “economic disparities widen” as families “are becoming more socially egalitarian,” the proper conjunction isn’t “even as” but “resulting in.”
The nuclear family structure is one which has been with virtually every human society, for as far back as we can know, precisely because it has proven to be the most efficient and economically sound way to provide for adults and children. What the Times is noting/ celebrating is the addition of less efficient, less effective ways of providing financial and psychological support for people.
- This article was written on Wednesday, November 27th, but delayed in publication until Thanksgiving Day. My wife and I should be heading to Kentucky on Thursday, and having Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s house. ↩
- Between $45 and $85 in Pennsylvania, which I see as too high, and a more reasonable $35.50 to $37.00 in Kentucky, where my wife and I were married 34 years, 6 months and 9 days ago.. ↩
- The Gallup research concerned how much various types of living arrangements spent, which implies the amount of resources they have available to spend. Given that married couples also save much more than other arrangements, married couples spending more actually understates the economic advantage they have. ↩