Jewish World Review March 28, 2013/ 17 Nissan, 5773
'The wisdom of Dan Quayle
By Jonah Goldberg
Almost exactly 20 years ago,
In case you forgot (or never knew), let me fill you in on what Quayle was right about.
There once was a popular sitcom called "Murphy Brown." The title character, played by
Murphy Brown was rich, powerful and independent. In a 1992 episode, she got pregnant and decided to have the baby, without a husband or, as so many say today, a "partner." On
Quayle mentioned "Murphy Brown" once. "Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong. Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong, and we must be unequivocal about this. It doesn't help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid, professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice. I know it is not fashionable to talk about moral values, but ... it's time to make the discussion public."
Quayle succeeded in launching a public discussion. His side lost. Feminists,
Quayle, of course, never said that families don't come in all shapes and sizes. What he said was that children raised by married, responsible parents do better than those who aren't. And that's where Whitehead came in. Marshaling the still-gelling social science at the time, she put numbers behind Quayle's assertions.
Back then, Whitehead's essay was heretical. Today, it's conventional wisdom. Last year,
Sawhill noted that kids raised by married parents -- not just parents living together, never mind single mothers -- simply do better. They do better academically and are less likely to get arrested, get pregnant or commit suicide. They're also much less likely to be poor or stay poor.
None of these claims are particularly controversial among social scientists. And none of this is particularly aimed at gay marriage, pretty much the only kind of marriage liberal elites want to celebrate now.
But where Quayle was wrong -- though only partially -- was putting the blame on
The black family was falling apart decades before "Murphy Brown." And since then, the white family has been breaking down even as the majority of
I don't know why marriage for all but the well-off and well educated continues to disintegrate; maybe it would help if elites "preached what they practiced," to borrow a phrase from
Maybe after the debate over gay marriage settles down, elites could focus on the far more pressing marriage crisis unfolding before their eyes.
include "/home/jwreview/public_html/t-ssi/jwr_squaread_300x250.php"; ?>
© 2006 TMS