The simple virtue of common sense

From The Wall Street Journal:

Ignoring an Inequality Culprit: Single-Parent Families
Intellectuals fretting about income disparity are oddly silent regarding the decline of the two-parent family.
By Robert Maranto and Michael Crouch | April 20, 2014 5:38 p.m. ET

Suppose a scientific conference on cancer prevention never addressed smoking, on the grounds that in a free society you can’t change private behavior, and anyway, maybe the statistical relationships between smoking and cancer are really caused by some other third variable. Wouldn’t some suspect that the scientists who raised these claims were driven by something—ideology, tobacco money—other than science?

Yet in the current discussions about increased inequality, few researchers, fewer reporters, and no one in the executive branch of government directly addresses what seems to be the strongest statistical correlate of inequality in the United States: the rise of single-parent families during the past half century.

The two-parent family has declined rapidly in recent decades. In 1960, more than 76% of African-Americans and nearly 97% of whites were born to married couples. Today the percentage is 30% for blacks and 70% for whites. The out-of-wedlock birthrate for Hispanics surpassed 50% in 2006. This trend, coupled with high divorce rates, means that roughly 25% of American children now live in single-parent homes, twice the percentage in Europe (12%). Roughly a third of American children live apart from their fathers.

Does it matter? Yes, it does. From economist Susan Mayer’s 1997 book “” to Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” in 2012, clear-eyed studies of the modern family affirm the conventional wisdom that two parents work better than one.1

More at the link.

We have mentioned previously that liberalism cannot stand questions about itself, that if putting together the small pieces, the individual problems, into a larger whole raises questions about the validity of liberal ideology, such connections cannot, must not, be made.

Maureen Dowd, the columnist for The New York Times, and a woman who has neither married nor had children, wrote a book entitled Are Men Necessary: When Sexes Collide.2 The problem is, for people like Miss Dowd, the title question is being asked by someone wealthy — she lives in a “stately Georgetown home” — with no children for whom she is responsible, a life status which is very foreign to most women; as much as I dislike the “1%” construction by the Occupy movement, it’s handy here, for Miss Dowd is clearly one of the 1%ers.

Vice President Dan Quayle rather famously got in trouble over the “Murphy Brown” question, because, well because you just can’t say that bearing children out of wedlock is wrong, even though Mr Quayle was noting the obvious, that for most women bearing children out of wedlock means a greatly increased personal and financial burden on them, and on their children. The linked article noted that Mr Quayle was right, but that was twenty years later; it was still a hammer to be used against the elder President Bush and him in the 1992 election.

Everything we know about human history has shown us that every culture and every society of which we are aware has developed heterosexual marriage as an institution, because it was required for bring up children. The wisdom of every society which has preceded our own was that children needed both a father and a mother, in the home, responsible for child rearing. Nevertheless, the oh-so-very-wise left elites decided that that was just so much (patriarchal?) hokum, just the remnants of bygone times, and not necessary for truly modern life!

The problem with that thinking was that it was developed by the elites, by people who had resources, by people who were not living paycheck-to-paycheck. The fictional character Murphy Brown could afford a child out-of-wedlock precisely because she was a fictional character; she was written as having a very successful professional job, written as being able to afford a plumber or an electrician if there was a problem. Murphy Brown still had to work, but she could easily afford child care. Vice President Quayle attacked an illusion built on a fictional character, saying, quite accurately, that the fictional character had real world connotations.

Well, your Editor can tell you that bringing up children is real work, and it’s work that requires more than one adult. The superwoman notion that mothers can work outside the home and be good mothers to their children as well ignores some pretty basic facts: it doesn’t matter how super the woman is, she doesn’t have the power to make the day last longer than 24 hours, and hours spent away from her children at work are hours in which someone else has to be responsible for taking care of them. Murphy Brown basically turned over child rearing to a babysitter, and the networks and the left said It Was Good, and millions upon millions of American women are turning over the rearing of their own children to minimum wage day care personnel, who are trying to care for 14 other kids at the same time.

We already know that:

  1. Children from homes without two parents are far more likely to commit crimes; and
  2. Children reared in single parent homes are far more likely to live in poverty,

but if you dare to say that single motherhood is bad for children, socially, educationally and economically, if you connect the very obvious dots, why you are a misogynist pig and advocate of the cisheteronormative patriarchy. It’s simple: if you connect the dots, if you look at the blatantly obvious evidence, you are attacking the liberal prescription for the way life can reasonably be lived.

For all of the thousands of years of known human civilization, we have lived, we all have lived with the societal and cultural assumption that normal people matured, and married other people of the opposite sex, and that sex was expected to be confined within the marital union. It wasn’t always equal: in most societies, men had more freedom to stray beyond the marital bond, while for women, such was more frequently a crime, and in some cases, even treason. But the importance of the family unit as the nurturer of children remained of primary importance.

To the left, it’s all so much garbage. But their prescriptions for how we should live have produced societal and cultural chaos; they have failed utterly. Oh, there are a few women who have been quite successful under the new rules, if anarchy can be called rules at all, women like the above-mentioned Miss Dowd.

But for every successful, elite, modern woman, there are hundreds more in our country who have all of the freedoms to have children out of wedlock and bed as many men as they wish, who are paying the price for that freedom in hopelessness and poverty. Of course, the left don’t see them as the victims of the culture the left created, but as somehow being the victims of the right, victims of the people who were correct all along. To have them apply simple common sense would be for them to challenge everything they believe, and they can’t have that!
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  1. The hyperlinks to the books were added by the Editor; they do not appear in the original.
  2. Here is Howard Kurtz’s review of the book and of Miss Dowd’s life.

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