Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why fiscal conservatives should support marriage and family

The Heritage Foundation has a post up about the social costs of the decline of marriage and family fore adults, children and society.

…nearly four of every ten babies is born out of wedlock and only half of all teenagers live in intact families. Cause for alarm is also found in a bevy of academic studies revealing the impact of the dissolution of the nuclear family on the life prospects and well-being of adults and their children. Research has clearly shown the physical, emotional, and fiscal benefits that married couples experience, as well as the devastating impact that the decline of the intact family has for the next generation. Compared with peers living with both biological parents, children and youth in other family structures fare worse in terms of academic achievement, mental and emotional health, and problem behavior. A father’s presence and involvement can make a lasting difference in a child’s prospects for life.

A married father is more likely to be involved with his children…while unmarried fathers are “soon out the door” when the demands of family life inevitably occur.

And then there is this troubling observation about the way the next generation destroys their ability to succeed in marriage, even though they would like to marry!

Surveys have indicated that American adolescents’ attitudes toward marriage tend to be hopeful (76 percent said that the institution of marriage and family life are “extremely important” and 81 percent said that they expected to marry), but trends in their favorable attitudes toward cohabitation and premarital sexual activity belie that hope. Research indicates that cohabiting couples are more likely to experience divorce in a subsequent marriage and premarital sex is likewise related to an increased likelihood of divorce.

When families break down, government must increase in order to deal with the fallout of divorce and of broken homes. That can mean more government control, more expensive social programs, more courts, more regulation, more police, etc. That is why fiscal conservatives need to stand up for social conservatism – and that means strong families raising well-adjusted children.

Marriage is a job. Certain skills and character traits are needed in order to succeed. The character traits have to be developed by studying in order to form a worldview that makes marriage rational. The worldview should rationally ground 1) moral obligations, and 2) self-sacrificial love. The rational grounding should not be based on self-interest- because marriage is tough.

People also need to study how marriage and parenting works. They need to study the effects of behaviors like pre-marital sex and co-habitation on their ability to have a successful marriage. They need to study the effects of focusing too much on education and career on parenting. The need to assess whether certain ideas (e.g. – feminism or promiscuity) help or hurt their ability to marry and raise children.

The vast majority of young people today have formed opinions and performed actions that make them incapable of commitment and parenting. If people really wanted marriage and children, they should have studied and acted differently. Attitudes can only change as people study these issues and understand the consequences of their decisions, before they make them.

When I think of a leftist, I think of someone who jettisons the wisdom of centuries of civilization, based on their emotions. These people are perpetually surprised by the consequences of their actions and public policies. They have no idea why moral rules are in place, and what consequences follow from disregarding these moral rules. They do not understand, they oversimplify, then they are surprised by failure.

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One Response

  1. Jason says:

    Knight, this was a very good post and I enjoyed your thoughts towards the end. I am in agreement with you. It is a shame that this isn’t talked about more. Why more studies on the destruction of the family unit has led to the deterioration of our society.

    When it is brought up the person that does it is usually considered “stuffy” and “old fashioned”. OK, whatever. But who is right?

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