On Google Reader, Joel shared a post from First Thoughts. R.R. Reno, looking over statistics from the National Marriage Project, writes “educational levels, economic success, and family stability [like having parents who stayed married and not having children out of wedlock] reinforce each other.”
And it’s also useful to be reminded of something else: The sexual revolution, like most revolutions (all revolutions?) has ended up benefiting the people on the top at the expense of the people on the bottom. Bourgeois Americans have judiciously incorporated sexual freedom into their lives, retaining to a great degree the stabilizing institution of marriage. Not so the folks in the middle and on the bottom, many of whom are undone by the collapse of older moral strictures.
I’ve long been baffled by progressives. They make the observation, largely true, that increased economic freedom since the Reagan years has disproportionately benefited those who are most capable of taking advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace—that is to say the well-educated and well-disciplined bourgeoisie. But these same progressives line up to trash traditional morality, ignoring the fact that the same holds for sexual freedom.
No, not the same but worse. It’s not at all clear that investment banker bonuses diminish the earning power of coal miners or janitors. But it is clear, I think, that the sexual liberties that can be gently folded into upper-middle class life wreck havoc on working class communities.
That’s why I think that a Catholic commitment to what’s known as “the preferential option for the poor”—a proper commitment, I might add—would seem to require a fairly strict social conservatism when it comes to sex, marriage, and the family.
It’s probably worth pointing out that the economic changes of the last 30 years, while they may have resulted in more concentration of wealth at the top, have also resulted in the general increasing of the size of the pie for all because of new technology and its falling prices. That doesn’t mean that everything about the economy has been great, but the sexual revolution can’t claim that same benefit for society (unless someone tried to say that this has resulted in more available and culturally acceptable sex for all, but that’s part of the problem).
You can read Albert Mohler’s interview with W. Bradford Wilcox of the National Marriage Project here, and you can also find an audio version on Mohler’s website.