Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Time Horizons: Marriage Edition

Ross Douthat:
since the modern liberal mind is trained to ask for spreadsheet-ready projections and clearly defined harms, and the links that social conservatives think exist aren’t amenable to that kind of precise measurement or definition. How do you run a regression analysis on a culture’s marital iconography? How do you trace the downstream influence of a change in that iconography on future generations’ values and ideas and choices? How do you measure highly-diffuse potential harms from some cultural shift, let alone compare them to the concrete benefits being delivered by the proposed alteration? How do you quantify, assess and predict the influence of a public philosophy of marriage — whatever that even means — on manners and morals and behavior? Especially when there are so many confounding socioeconomic variables involved — enough of them, in fact, to enable left and right to argue endlessly about whether something as nebulous as “culture” really shapes marriage and family at all, or whether everything is just economics all the way down.

In the piece, Douthat links to this article, which FLG hadn't seen before but looks very interesting.


Helen Andrews said...

My opus!

Maybe fewer people would have missed it the first time around if only I'd kept writing under my far more eye-catching four-syllable maiden name.

FLG said...


I had no idea! Great work!

Withywindle said...

That's the trouble with First Things; the titles of the articles are too large, and the names of the authors too small. Humility is good for the author's soul and all; but generosity publicizing the stable is good for the editor's.

Incidentally, Helen, you're still listed by your maiden name at the bottom of the article!

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