Along with the recent debate over contraceptive coverage, it is clear that not only has sex permeated our politics and cultural life (Kristof couldn’t be more disingenuous), but it has also become completely dissociated from conceptions of human flourishing, relegated solely to the realm of personal (expressive) autonomy. While the wealthy and educated celebrate their libertine gains, the poor and uneducated – and especially their children – continue to be the hardest hit in this grand cultural experiment.
The Times cites a Child Trends report that more than half the children born to women under 30 are born to single mothers. Nor can inadequate access to birth control be considered the reason for this. Indeed, when one considers the significant increase in in the percent of births from 1970 to 2009 that belong to unmarried women, there is no evidence to suggest that access to birth control has improved this condition. The conclusion is that the whole idea of marriage and family itself has been subordinated to the whims of sexual congress. The report itself is worth a look.
Tocqueville predicted that democracy would move toward soft despotism as non-governmental associative life became increasingly tenuous, and under attack by government itself, which would then gather the dissociated individuals under its tutelary care, guarantee to them their private materialistic and hedonistic expressivity, while making itself the sole guarantor of their material well-being. The steady decline of family life thus has an intrinsic relation to the contraceptive flap, for in the latter the Obama administration has clearly attacked the value of associative life, with its contour-giving authority in determining the proper ends of freedom, in favor of isolated individuals poorly and selfishly exercising their sexuality under the protection of a despotic regime which, as Patrick has noted, is a jealous god.