In the wake of the tragic latest shooting deaths of 14 learners and three adults at a Lakewood ranch high school, we see a familiar practice being played out: an upset debate about guns.
What you in no way see is the debate we really needs to be having: about the social breakdown that’ s been going on in America and many developed countries for the past few years. This breakdown has many forms: our own torn social fabric, the loss of a feeling of community and neighborliness, and dropping trust in each other and in our discussed institutions.
But at the heart of it is the most important interpersonal change of all – the biggest concern that Americans refuse to talk about: family members breakdown.
It is now well established that Nikolas Jones – who authorities say has opened up to the Florida college shootings – had a deeply stressed and unstable family background, the characteristic he has in common with many that have committed such atrocities.
But we are unable to and should not blame Cruz’ ersus family circumstances for what he’s confessed to doing. In the end, people must be held responsible for their own activities.
Household policy is the single most important concern to get right. Strong families would be the foundation of a strong, prosperous culture. That makes family a populist problem. But it shouldn’ t be a partisan one.
It’ t important to remember that the majority of violent fatalities in America – whether by weapons or other means – are certainly not caused by evil psychopaths. They are brought on by individuals who are troubled in more mundane methods, and whose unstable family skills are an instrumental factor in risky actions, like joining a gang.
The much deeper point is to understand that this is a lot bigger than just crime. More and more kids in America are growing up in damaged homes and in a culture associated with toxic stress and violence.
Most of these kids will never commit a crime. Most will end up living in poverty. Suffering dependancy. Or homelessness, or debt, or even persistent unemployment – or a mixture of these things – trapping them within lives without any of the opportunities that will others take for granted.
The causal connection among family breakdown and the intractable interpersonal issues that form the core of our politics debates – taxes and federal government spending, inequality, crime – is usually well researched and well established. The particular science is in. It’ s exactly that we don’ t want to deal with it because it means confronting something which is very personal to each of all of us: how we choose to live our lives.
The hippo in the room is marriage. The information shows clearly that on average, kids who are raised in stable houses with both parents do better. Children through divorced parents, or whose mom and dad never married in the first place, do even worse – whether that’ s when it comes to lower levels of social mobility or more levels of poverty.
Of course , averages have conditions to them. Many children from damaged homes do well. I’ m one of these.
But that shouldn’ t sightless us to the overall picture. Some decades ago, over 90 percent of children were born to wedded parents. Today it’ s less than 50 %. Liberals and conservatives alike will be able to agree that it would be better for the society – and our economic climate, frankly – if we could change things around.
Family policy is the individual most important issue to get right. Solid families are the foundation of a solid, prosperous society. That makes family the populist issue. But it shouldn’ capital t be a partisan one.
If your focus can be individual freedom and reducing the scale and scope of government, it’ s not enough to cut things as well as hope for the best. You have to actually resolve the social problems that give rise to a lot of what government does and exactly what it spends so much money upon.
In case your focus is social justice plus reducing poverty and inequality, it is now evident that will spending money on these problems is not sufficient. We’ ve been doing that will from the New Deal in the 1930s through to the Great Society in the sixties and beyond. If anything, the issues are worse, not better. The particular fight needs to be taken to the underlying factors behind poverty and inequality.
Whichever way a person look at it, you end up in the same location: the family. The single best thing we are able to do to increase opportunity, raise earnings, build a fairer society, fight criminal offense and drug addiction, improve wellness, reduce welfare – you mention the product and – is to try to be sure that every child in America is elevated in a stable, loving home.
We will be discussing all this and more on “ The following Revolution” this Sunday at nine p. m. EST on Sibel News Channel – hope you are able to join us!