Our authors may be following Charles Murray’s lead, which he outlined in ‘Coming Apart:’
‘In fact, a key part of the explanation for the struggles of today’s working and lower middle classes in the U.S. is delayed marriage. When the trend toward later marriage first took off in the 1970s, most of these young men and women delayed having children, much as they had in the past. But by 2000, there was a cultural shift. They still put off their weddings, but their childbearing—not so much. Fifty-eight percent of first births among this group are now to unmarried women.’
What kind of a society should we have? What kind of society are we creating?
Many women in college and in the professions are delaying marriage and child-bearing. They can generally afford to put off marriage in pursuit of education and career (though they can’t wait too long and we’ve got tremendous student-loan debt). The women without such opportunities and who aren’t in college or the professions generally aren’t putting off having children for too long on the analysis above, but they are putting off marriage. This can have consequences for all of us.
Are we creating a two-tiered society, one of low-skilled, lower educated folks whom we ought to encourage into marriage, and the other full of higher skilled, better educated folks who will probably get married anyways, after putting career first?
Of course, implicit in the above quotation is the idea that conservatives are already losing the debate: The coveted sweet spot in the middle and upper-middle class mind in America, which tends to guide our social institutions, laws, and politics is not currently well occupied by particularly religious, nor traditional, nor conservative ideas.
The newer social model hasn’t addressed many problems that the old social model may have addressed. On Murray’s view, perhaps we’re in danger of losing much in the way of economic dynamism as a result (to which I’ve found very few women in my time who wish to go back to 1963, which Murray doesn’t suggest we do, and relatively fewer women willing to call themselves feminists or address the radicalism inherent in feminism head-on).
Our authors continue:
‘But to truly move forward, educators, employers, policy makers, parents, entertainment leaders and young adults themselves need to join together in launching a national conversation about bringing down the childbearing rate of unmarried women and men in their 20s. Such campaigns aren’t just talk. They worked for dealing with teen pregnancy, and they can work again.’
The ending comes off a little weak.
Here’s Murray discussing Coming Apart:
***Having been asked to watch a few clips of the popular HBO series ‘Girls, I suspect the show can be seen partially as a product of the post 60’s, literary, post-post-modern beat/hippie/hipster culture that comes with a pedigree. There is a deeper current of Western individualism (romanticism, modernism, post-modernism) running through Western culture. On the show, perhaps there is a deeper quest for the Self going on. Freedom is next.
Admittedly, this helps keep many chatterers chattering away who see their own selves and causes (feminism especially) reflected therein. I can’t say I care that much for the subject matter, though I will generally support artists who stay true to their art, as religion, polite society, politics and ideologues of all sorts should be transcended if that art is going to last.
Addition: And, to be fair, it’s entertainment, and it’s designed to give pleasure. It’s pretty well-done. Dunham should watch out for the maw of celebrity culture.
Glenn Reynolds has a piece at USA Today.
According to the Atlantic: Why are 58% of first-births to unmarried women in lower middle class households. Of course, it might have a lot to do with taking marriage apart, and replacing it with…whatever’s here now. Naturally, being politically liberal, they focus on making more income equality.
Related On This Site: Charles Murray At The New Criterion: ‘Belmont & Fishtown’…Charles Murray Lecture At AEI: The Happiness Of People…Can you maintain the virtues of religion without the church…of England?: From The City Journal: Roger Scruton On “Forgiveness And Irony”…
Kay Hymowitz In The The City Journal: Love In The Time Of Darwinism…Kay Hymowitz In The City Journal: Child-Man In The Promised Land?…Kay Hymowitz At The City Journal: ‘How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back’
The NY Times op-ed writer and a practicing Catholic? William Saletan and Ross Douthat At Slate: ‘Liberalism Is Stuck Halfway Between Heaven And Earth’…Douthat’s The Grand New Party…Ross Douthat At First Principles: ‘The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience’
Don’t get Borked, at least if you’re openly religious and aiming for higher office: Bork had his own view of the 1960′s: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”
Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working. Check out his series at The American Interest. He has a big vision with some holes in it, but it’s one that embraces change boldly.
Once you take apart the old structure, you have to criticize the meritocracy you’ve helped create: David Brooks At The NY Times: ‘Why Our Elites Stink’