On Sunday, Jason DeParle breathlessly wrote in the New York Times, our nation’s guardian of “what matters,” that intact families are far more likely to provide better lives for their children.
Shocking, I know. That the Times would give space in its Sunday issue to talk about the importance of families must indicate it’s a problem. (And one of such import!) It also comes on the heels of Isabel Sawhill’s Washington Post column, “20 years later, it turns out Dan Quayle was right about Murphy Brown and unmarried moms.”
This is something conservatives have been mocked for saying for decades — and as recently as — this year.
During the Republican primaries, Rick Santorum frequently cited a 2009 study from the Brookings Institute. “If Americans do three things,” Santorum said, “they can avoid poverty. Three things. Work, graduate from high school, and get married before you have children.” It struck a core with conservatives — and perfectly covered Santorum’s campaign of faith, family, and values.
The line has been adopted by Mitt Romney, who has found the soundbite one of his most popular applause lines — especially with the conservative base that is often skeptical of his core beliefs.
The core of DeParle’s story can be found on Page 3 (yes, it took that long to state the obvious), where he notes Charles Murray‘s recent book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America.” In the book, Murray argues there is a rapidly growing gap in America — and that it is reflected in collapse of traditional family units in the working class.
DeParle treats this with the reverence of an archaeologist discovering King Tut’s tomb — as if it’s some undiscovered secret. But it’s not — and has never been — surprising that policies and a culture which lionize single parenthood would be harmful to children.
What is surprising is that it took some Americans so long to realize it.