Happy Thanksgiving . . .

. . . 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.
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  1. 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.
  2. 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..
  3. 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.

12 Comments

  1. The traditional American family has received more than a little wrath from the liberals in charge of the asylum. That wrath is not earned, but it is present, nonetheless. Reason being, the traditional American family goes against everything the liberals stand for.

  2. If anything is becoming irrelevant, it’s the NY Times with articles like this. Truly, ideology has eclipsed even basic business sense at that paper. It’s snooty left wing elitists writing for other snooty, left wing elitists.

  3. 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.

    That said, thet may be on to something here. In a recent book by Charles Murray (definitely not a snooty, left wing elitist, more of a libertarian, actually) he asserts that much of the worst family breakdown is in the lower classes. Wealthy, well educated people, whether liberal or conservative, tend to have intact families, wait until marriage to have children, and have kids who tend to be well educated themselves and thus have offspring who continue the trend. It’s the poorer families who tend to get divorced, have kids out of wedlock, get in trouble with the law, and so forth. And thus they tend to stay poor and have dysfunctional lives. And so all the things pushed by the liberal elite, in the form of breaking down traditional values, get filtered down to the people who can afford it the least.

  4. Natalie’s got it backwards, it isn’t the Traditional American Family that’s a thing of the past, it’s the NY Times for whom the bells toll. She feels the grim reaper’s approach, her industry is entirely dependent on printing technology invented in China in the mid-11th Century, and first seen in Europe around 1450. Ink on paper using movable type was hot stuff before Columbus set sail and headed West on the briny deep. But times have changed quite a bit since the days of town criers and broadsheets.

    Now, information comes almost instantaneously in high frequency waves on radio, TV, the Internet, and even on our smart phones. It rides on electronic winds and isn’t dependent on paper to carry inky words, entertain, or to inform. And, it’s damn quick too, ever so much quicker that old fashioned newspapers. We expect our news and entertainment right away, now, while it’s happening. No one wants to wait in the dark while reporters interview witnesses, prepare copy, get editorial approval, print and distribute newspapers by hand. By then it just ain’t new news anymore, at best it’s yesterday’s news.

    And, the waste, the costs are unsustainable. Dead tree journalism is an environmental disaster, the vast swaths of green forest cut down every day for wood pulp to feed the insatiable jaws of massive printing presses the size of 4 story apartment blocks can’t be justified on the grounds of disseminating news. Not when it’s really advertising and crossword puzzles that’s being disseminated.

    Natalie’s wedded to a dying industry which will be long gone and far behind us while the traditional American family continues to nurture future generations who will no more depend on newspapers for information than we do on whale oil to light our homes.

  5. Pingback: If All You See…(Turkey Day Edition) » Pirate's Cove

  6. My wonderful wife and I are at my sister Stacey’s house; we arrived Thanksgiving afternoon. We’ve been absolutely stuffed ever since then, and saw my other sister, two of my cousins, and have had a pretty good Thanksgiving so far.

  7. This year T-Day and going into Christmas are not going to be easy. In four year we lost all four parents, with both mothers going this year by way of the slow personality robbing disease of Al-Z for our mothers (April and September). The live in not ready for primetime daughter moved to Kansas with “Toto” the cat. So it’s been rather quiet here, unless the grandkids show up. At least our son is close by and with the kids provides comic relief. Not to be a downer, but I sorta miss the holiday marathons of driving 130 miles to visit and have mob scenes. But life isn’t about nothing changes, you just adapt and put one foot, damn, I don’t have the otherone to move it. Oh well.

  8. It’s Saturday, and we went to the O’Hair Flea Market in Clay City, Kentucky, and saw plenty of good Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights. That’s certainly one thing for which I am thankful; country people are still sensible enough to defend their own freedoms, rather than to allow the State to take them away just because other people break the law.

  9. Observer was one of the screen names Perry used to circumvent the filters after he was banned at Patterico’s site. Is this Observer someone new? Or is it the same old spuyten duyvil who was excommunicated for violating the minimum standards for participation in a civil society?

  10. The answer is: I do not know, though “Observer’s” comment originated through a IP address which shows that it came through a Verizon server in Philadelphia, and was identical, until the last three digits, to the address used by a previously banned commenter from Delaware. It appears quite likely that this comment came from the previously banned commenter, and I shall treat it that way.

    However, the article to which the probable previously banned commenter referred was already cited on The First Street Journal, noting that while competition has cost coal miners jobs, so has Obama Administration energy policy.

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