Jennifer Roback Morse was late reviewing Red Families v Blue Families in part because it’s time-consuming to unpack illogic and obfuscation, but also in part because the book made her so mad she could hardly read it. A few bullet quotes capture her fury:
- What is objectionable is that their data leaves no doubt that it is not “maturity” or greater self-command that makes the later marriages of the well-educated possible. The elites rely on contraception, backed up by the unapologetic use of abortion, to establish their high-status late-marriage life-styles.
- Carbone and Cahn are implicitly accusing us of opposing “higher education” and “disciplined childbearing”. In fact, there is nothing “disciplined” about the child-bearing of the upper classes. They are simply willing to use abortion to kill off the babies that arrive too early for the script. Contraception, not discipline, allows them to be sexually active and still postpone marriage.
- [T]he most appalling thing about this very appalling book is the insularity of the authors. Cahn and Carbone simply have no clue what the actual lives of real people look like.
- This is the world that the elites have created for the lower classes: a world of loneliness, mutual suspicion and uncertainty.
- [E]ducated women still get to have the Leave it to Beaver lifestyle they denigrate in their classrooms and that they have done so much to destroy in the rest of the culture. They just get started at age 35 instead of age 18.
- How dare Cahn and Carbone criticize the beleaguered and increasingly marginalized social conservatives who strive to bring back some semblance of structure to the lives of ordinary people? How dare the life-style left wine and dine these authors, and, with a straight face, claim to be “progressives” who care about the fate of the less fortunate?
This very much put me in mind of the under-heralded Wendell Berry:
Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate “relationship” involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed, and on the other hand a sort of private political system in which rights and interests must be constantly asserted and defended. Marriage, in other words, has now taken the form of divorce: a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided.
Quoted by Alan Jacobs at Big Questions Online. (Any wonder why same-sex marriage has become plausible?)
Now go read Roback at the source.