Wednesday, December 08, 2010

4 Out Of 5 Evangelical Divorcees Believe Marriage Is Sacred


The Innocent Smith Journal derives it's name from the Don Quixote-like character in the G.K. Chesterton novel, Manalive, soon to be released as a film. It's my favorite newly discovered blog and Monday's post on an essential, even existential, difference between Blue America and Red America is something Obama ought to take into consideration. If not him, his political team. Innocent Smith gives us an intriguing look into the recent book by Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, Red Families v. Blue Families in which they link Blue America’s permissive sexual mores to its economic success.
Well-paying jobs today typically require a high level of education; in turn, obtaining that graduate degree in law or social work often means delaying fertility. While Red America’s abstinence-only mindset has done little to curtail teen pregnancy and unwed parenting, Blue America has taken a different, more successful approach: accepting premarital sex, but limiting its effects through contraception and abortion.

The paradoxical upshot of Blue America’s economic success is that it ends up realizing the traditional marriage ideal (career-marriage-childrearing, in that order) far better than does Red America. But how can it be that Blue America achieves an ideal that it isn’t even aiming for, while Red America misses the mark? Consider, for a moment, the even more paradoxical relationship between capitalism and traditional religious and moral values. (I have Catholic values in mind, but the statement holds true for other traditions as well.) On the one hand, there is a strong tension between the two, a tension that tends to work against Red America. Traditional values take into account the interests and preferences of families and communities and not merely those of the individual; capitalism views society as a collection of self-interested individuals. Traditional values acknowledge the importance of economics, but subordinate it to other goods, such as the environment, religion, the arts, and the community; capitalism can conceive of no higher good than profits. Social conservatism tends to overlap with economic liberalism insofar as it favors traditional values in these respects. At the same time-- contrary to the dogma of fiscal conservatives-- the abstinence-only schemes of Red America are far more antithetical to capitalism than the wealth redistribution schemes of Blue America. (Note that tax rates on the upper income bracket exceeded 70% throughout the economic boom years of 1948-1973.)

...Ultimately, what capitalism has produced is two Americas: a Blue America whose prosperity depends upon the values it professes to have outgrown, and a Red America that preaches traditional values but wholeheartedly embraces the economic Darwinism that preys upon them.

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