Exactly as I predicted

If you relocate the horizon of success, you can win at anything. Michael Gerson teaches us how to do that with arguments:

>On cultural issues, conservatives have been ambushed by hope. And Wehner and Levin provide two main explanations.

>First, societies can, over time, recognize their own self-destructive tendencies and reassert old norms — not just arresting decline but even reversing it. Many Americans, for example, have seen the damaging effects of divorce on children — sometimes from the firsthand perspective of their own childhoods — and divorce rates, especially among upper-income couples, have fallen. Over the decades the social wreckage of drug use has become undeniable — and the social judgment on this practice has shifted from “stylish rebellion” to “suicidal idiocy.” In many cases, our culture has benefited from the natural healing mechanism of simple sanity.

>The second reason for this cultural renewal is bold, effective public policy — welfare reform with time limits and work requirements; zero-tolerance approaches to crime; education reform that tests and requires basic skills; and comprehensive anti-drug efforts, including enforcement, treatment and education. In all these cases, good government and rational incentives have made a tremendous difference.

Lower crime, less drug abuse, lower divorce rates, real book learning of course, are all of them uniquely conservative positions. Liberals, of course, advocated drug abuse as stylish rebellion, no investment in quality public education, unlimited welfare, and a tolerant attitude towards crime.

2 thoughts on “Exactly as I predicted”

  1. I suspect his statistics on divorce are seriously misrepresented, as there are a million and a half ways to measure such an ethereal thing. Per-capita/per-year rates? Per cent of marriages ending in divorce? (Which is nearly always mismeasured, by comparing marriages and divorces together from the same year, rather than tracking individual instances over time). Proportion ever divorced? Are his statistics adjusted for the lower number of marriages occurring, and the older age of the people involved?

    Maybe we as a society have just decided to stop that self-destructive tendency of divorce by cohabiting, and having sex and children outside of marriage. Reassertion of “old norms” nothing; it’s just less paperwork that way.

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