Why ‘The Family’ Matters in Economics

Nick Schulz is frustrated. He’s frustrated that economists talk about the role of institutions in the American economy, yet ignore the most fundamental one of them all: the family. With a career built on writing about the roots of economic growth, Schulz has realized that you can’t understand today’s economy—from the need for human capital to rising inequality— without considering the platoons of moms, dads, and children that form the backbone of American society. And the situation is not pretty. The American family is in a state of crisis, which in turn is having a profound impact on the economy.

Yet too many experts remain silent for fear of becoming collateral damage in America’s culture wars. Nick Schulz wrote Home Economics bookHome Economics for these silent ones who have ignored the family’s role in the economy. He concludes as former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett did, finding that the “family is the original and best Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.”

Looking across 50 years of history, Schulz provides an introductory analysis of the forces buffeting the American family, but he doesn’t dwell on the root causes. They are far too complex, ranging from changes in technology, culture, habits, morality, religion, and economic forces, among others. The point is that America’s customs concerning the family and, more specifically, marriage, have shifted dramatically. Out-of-wedlock births are increasingly common, as are parents who never marry. For those who do walk down the aisle, they face long odds of remaining together “‘til death do us part.”

For those tempted to say, “So what?”, rising income inequality, wealth disparities, and disproportionate health outcomes are all impossible to understand without taking a hard look at families. As Jason DeParle wrote last year in The New York Times that “changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40% of the growth in certain measures of inequality.” David Leonhardt, also of the Times, noted a recent finding that “family structure was one of the four factors with a clear relationship to upward mobility.” As Schulz himself found, only 5% of married families were poor at any point this year, while 30% of single-parent households felt the blow of poverty. These data points paint a bleak portrait; those being raised without a mother and a father will face immense social and economic barriers.

The end result is that American families now seem to follow two tracks: those of the upper-middle class, where family institutions remain relatively strong, and those of the lower-middle class, where family instability is distressingly common. Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, in particular, provides a detailed picture of this growing disconnect.

Many people can and do succeed in the midst of family brokenness, of course. Yet the risks of failing are far too high when kids are raised in the context of relational instability. Socioeconomic mobility and multigenerational poverty are empirically linked to family stability like never before.

Family is society writ small, where one builds basic human capital, social capital, and skills. In Schulz’s calculation, family is a basic, vital economic unit—the X factor. Family builds empathy and self-control, which in turn shapes character. Character fosters human capital (“knowledge, education, habits, willpower”) and social capital (assets “created and maintained by relationships of commitment and trust”), which ultimately generates economic growth. You could practically build a formula out of it.

Empathy in particular is linked to social capital, while self-control informs much of human capital, allowing individuals to be invested in the long-term good rather than short-term gain. We also see this influence in an assortment of non-cognitive skills, such as delayed gratification, which, as Walter Mischel established around 1989, is a core factor in individual success.

It’s important to remember that developed countries—especially the United States—are wealthy because of their institutions, family included. As economies move from agriculture to manufacturing and then to services, human and social capital play increasingly important and complimentary roles in shaping how people contribute to the economy as employees. Yet as Schulz says, “At the same time one of the chief mechanisms for inculcating soft capital, the family, has weakened for millions of people.”

It turns out that, to answer a question posed previously by Matthew Lee Anderson, a lot of entrepreneurial creativity is in fact motivated and grounded in a strong family structure. When viewed through the lens of human and social capital as Schulz does, “Taking entrepreneurial and business risks is a lot easier if we are operating in a context of relational stability.” Free enterprise flourishes when immersed in the deep pools of virtuous talent that family nurtures. Liberty fades and government grows in the absence of strong families.

What are we to do then to mend the broken American family? We should approach in the spirit of humility, first and foremost. To answer in the form of a question, what can policy do to change the broken human soul? When robbed of the social mores that work to temper mankind’s nature, sin is left unfettered to darken the reflections of God’s nature seen in marriage and family. Moreover, as E.O. Wilson rightfully pointed out, “How might the government of a free society reshape the core values of its people and still leave them free?”

Virtue stands before policy in order to secure our liberty. We should then desire social order, grounded in familial stability, and a politics that speaks to it.

Yet we cannot sit back and wait. Improving the incentive structure behind family formation should be the utmost priority of any coherent political platform. Early childhood intervention, for one thing seems to work at countering the effect of family instability and fostering a next generation that’s less susceptible to the ills of their parents. Taken with a dose of humility, we also see that these interventions are fragile things, especially once the teenage years arrive. Schulz also mentions a number of tax incentives that have been proposed along these lines. They spur those on the margins of getting married or having kids by removing barriers, like cost (weddings and children have never been cheap). Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry summarizes this approach well:

From a free market perspective, most free market economists agree that tax policy should encourage investment in capital, and forming a family and raising children are (costly, in the latter case) investments in human capital. Libertarian economist Evan Soltas, recently making the case for the lower tax rate on capital gains, notes that if one believes we should subsidize investment in financial capital, we should also subsidize investment in human capital. And finally, if people are the ultimate resource (and we are), encouraging more people to be brought up in better conditions will increase overall prosperity.

The decline of the American family is the most pressing challenge of the 21st century. As Nick Schulz has so rightly shown in his new book, our economy needs strong families—and our society depends on them. We should stop ignoring this reality.

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  • Bethany Persons

    I was totally tracking with this article until we got to the part about policy applications. I don’t think we got here by policy only, and the countries that have tried using policy and incentives to reverse even one aspect of this, I’m thinking of France and Russia, have seen barely a dent in their plummeting birth rates

    I think it falls to us, as Christians, to leave a legacy of gospel-rooted, joy-filled, thriving families. Every generation that stays married and has two kids or more will draw an increasing contrast to the rest of our society, and have increasing influence.

    • C.T. Westing

      You raise a good point Bethany, but weren’t French and Russian policies meant in large part to improve plummeting birthrates? (I know in Russia, Putin’s trying to resolve this problem through government incentives.) Whereas, what is being discussed here seems to be more along the lines of encouraging strong family structures, and less about a declining birthrates.

      But your point about gospel-rooted families is essential, and I completely agree. We must lead by example.

      • Bethany Persons

        I believe there is a significant relationship between birth rates and the formation of strong families. Strong families usually have a lot of love, commitment, and self-sacrifice. Children are a natural overflow of these things. This makes me think that even if we had more people getting and staying married, if they aren’t having children, we haven’t improved much on the hyper-individualistic culture we have today. Furthermore, how would a culture of strong families continue without children?

    • mesocyclone

      I agree. Not every problem should be solved by government – in fact, most should not. We need to improve the values in our society if we are to improve this problem.

      However, we should avoid or correct policies that discriminate against families and marriage. For example, anti-male biases of divorce courts and child services may discourage males from getting married. Likewise, as pointed out 50 years ago by Moynihan, welfare policies often promote the unmarried, “wild male” lifestyle as opposed to stable nuclear families.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      The first thing that the government needs to do is to recognize that it is a player in these dynamics, then review what it’s doing and stop undertaking policies that actively harm the family. If they were to do just that, it would improve matters considerably. Wake me up when the review studies start being published.

      • Harry Taft

        TMLutas, I’m afraid you will die in your sleep. Government never admits that its policies are wrong, or that they are the cause of any of our problems. At every level, city, county, state and federal, we have way too much government and government regulation. The cost of maintaining all that regulation is itself unsustainable but that fact will seldom be acknowledged. Don’t go to sleep.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

          I hope to die in my sleep. With these exciting times coming up, the odds of a cell in my future are rising beyond the asterisk level.

      • Bethany Persons

        I just don’t think that anyone ever got married just for the tax break, or that those in poverty avoid marriage just for the welfare benefit. Maybe for some on the margins, but that doesn’t explain the massive shift we have seen in recent decades. We must see marriage as a good in itself worth having, regardless of policy. Not everyone sees that anymore, especially apart from personal happiness.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

          Marriage is a very complex institution. So complex that we have not accurately described it in a legal sense. Literally, nobody has ever crawled through all the legal codes and pulled all the statute sections that impact marriage and labeled that as the marriage code. A couple of people have tried but have given it up.

          At some point someone, perhaps me, will get around to pulling all the US’ legal and regulatory codes into a database and the whole thing will be tagged. One of the tags will no doubt be “affects marriage”. When it’s all tagged properly, we’ll have an outline of what civil marriage is.

          Civil marriage is not a good in itself as certain forms of marriage do things that we have historically rejected. Polygamous marriage’s advantaging of high status men and low status women was famously rejected by the requirement that it be dropped before Utah was admitted as a state. The alternate advantage pattern of monogamy, which privileges low status men and high status women is the rule here. This has large implications for societal stability that are beneficial for society at large.

          The idea that civil marriage is a good in itself has the same problems that our previous mantra that everybody should be a homeowner had. It’s just not true.

      • Shawn Smith

        The problem is that anyone who worships the power of big government must be actively opposed to the family. They may not consciously know it, but it’s true. Family and religion are the two institutions that have the resiliency to oppose the power of an increasingly tyrannical state. Where possible, religion is co-opted and corrupted. If not, it’s attacked. The family, on the other hand, must simply be eroded and shattered. The influence of parents must be minimized. (See recent Romeike case and our government’s shameful response.)

    • bittman

      A simple change in government policy that allows religious prayer in public events, schools, allows the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public buildings, etc., would send the message that our government supports religious freedom and all religions. Our Constitution prohibits only a government/church relationship like the one that England had where the King was head of the country and the church agreed with all that he decreed. America celebrated public religious speech for almost 200 years before the Progressives decided that the Constitution had been misinterpreted for all that time and changed all of the rules in this area. We need to change them back if we are ever to become a moral country again.

      • Bethany Persons

        You make a good point. As a society, we have moved away from church and family as the basic building blocks of a strong society. Two consequences are that people don’t participate in them as much anymore and that government reflects the values of our time. In this instance, I do not think that anyone can champion a new policy or a return to these old ones that would restore families to their full strength. Hearts changed, and then culture, and then government. We must live in a way that seeks to change hearts.

        • cpo

          See my comment above…it applies to you as well.

      • Cpo

        Yes, a simple government policy that allows for prayer in public events, schools, and the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public places will show that our government supports religious freedom…and just like that, family values and good morals will sweep across the nation. Not sure where to begin to disabuse you of this notion. Some of the worst atrocities inflicted on mankind has been done in the name of some God. I say keep religion out of it all and just teach people how to be kind to one another. I come from a deeply Christian culture (Ibo culture -Nigeria), where polygamy was practiced and my grandfathers, on both sides, had about 9 wives combined. Our family was well-known and highly regarded…but it was due to the fact that my grandparents understood the importance of education, which I think trumps all religion. Educate people and allow them to make decisions that’s best for themselves. The only active role the government has to play is to make sure that the same opportunity is afforded to its citizens., which, in this country, is sorely lacking. In my opinion, what you’re seeing now is the result of the opposite happening, which will keep happening until we get money out of politics…the special interest for the poor can’t afford big shot lobbyists…and when you see someone big group lobbying for the poor, they’re usually dressed in sheep’s clothing…because they stand to benefit monetarily. Example: Banks lobbying for “affordable” housing for the poor. Poor gets housing (some steered towards unfavorable loans (read: minorities). Banks exploit the market and sour the economy. Poor no longer able to afford their “affordable” house. Banks take home back. Poor is distressed and family becomes shaky. Family breaks up.
        One last note about the Progressives you so-called Christians have a disdain for…a lot of the liberties you enjoy today came from them…Winston Churchill broke from his Conservative party to join the liberals and created one of the first social welfare systems in England and even argued for a minimum wage for miners. The 40hr-week you enjoy with paid vacations are from Progressive movements. Your right to vote and exercise, what some call God-given, inalienable rights, were fought for by Progressives.

        • Bethany Persons

          To quote one of this blog’s “patron saints” – Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. – C. S. Lewis.

        • bittman

          I am not a particularly religious person but since the 1960′s — which is when the ACLU via the Supreme Court started outlawing any show of religion on public grounds — the morality of this country has gone straight down. Check the statistics on unwed mothers, crimes, killings, etc., and you will see this is true. By doing this, our government has sent the message that religion — i.e., following the Ten Commandments, is not important to the morality of our country.

          Sorry, you are wrong about our liberties coming from Progressives. Our Constitution says quite clearly that our rights come from the Creator (presumably the term “Creator” was to address the differences in what God’s name is in various religions). The closest political group today to what Liberals were in the days of the framing of our Constitution is the Libetarians — The Progressives have been and are still Marxists; they want Socialism and/or Communism. Go back to Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt — all of which wanted to totally destroy our Bill of Rights — the first ten amendments to our Constitution and replace them with a right to work, right to own a house, right to social security, right to healthcare — all of which are material things; they are not rights guaranteed to preserve our liberty and our freedoms. The Progressive party has now taken over the entire Democrat Party. Their motto is “The ends justifies the means.” They have few morals. The Progressives gained power via giving freebies to buy votes much as the French philosopher Alexis Tocquerville predicted. Today, America has 97 million taxpayers and an unbelievable 101 million people on the dole to receive these taxes. Simple math tells you our country is in deep trouble — morally, politically, and financially.

      • JohnE_o

        Seriously?

        Okay then – which version of the Ten Commandments? The Protestant version or the Catholic version?

        • bittman

          I don’t believe there is a difference between the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish version of the Tenth Commandments since they are in the Old Testament — not the New Testament.

  • Alastair J Roberts

    I wonder whether, in recognizing the correlation between family breakdown or absence and poverty, we have focused too much on chains of causation running from the former to the latter, when the causation running in the other direction may be as or even more significant.

    Some of the greatest obstacles in the way of people settling down and especially having children have to do with economic instability. Taking on the burden of providing and committing to another human being (who needs to have their own career) and to the potential offspring of that union can be a responsibility that many feel unable to take on. Studies suggest that most people want more children than they will end up having. However, they lack the economic security to have them. Where two career families have become the norm, juggling child-bearing and rearing around one’s career trajectory presents further problems. Where men lack secure employment, they may feel that they have very little to bring to a marriage and that they are unable to assume its obligations.

    The economy is increasingly built around relatively footloose individual workers and is more and more ungendered. This sort of economy will place new pressures upon the family structure, which tends to become more focused upon the shared consumption of two workers than a distinct domestic realm ordered towards child-bearing and rearing. As divorce becomes easier, people will be less inclined to invest in marriage, wary of sacrificing the independence of two separate careers.

    It seems to me that encouraging marriage requires a number of things. It will necessitate a strengthening of the legal bond of marriage, so that people are more inclined to invest in it. It will require an economy that is more congruent with the gendered realities of the family, rather than being ordered around detached and footloose individuals.

    • anonymous

      One of the tenets of social conservatism is that families, owning their homes, create stable communities.

      But capitalism requires a mobile workforce, with the workers being able and willing to re-locate to wherever the jobs are.

      Conservatives have yet to reconcile this dichotomy that exists in their belief system.

      • http://www.tempeteaparty.org Lee Reynolds

        News to me.

        In all my years of being around social conservatives, I’ve yet to hear anything about home ownership.

        • Cpo

          The “Ownership Society” was propagated by Conservative Republicans. One clear example of that is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNqQx7sjoS8

          • Helen Thomas

            GWB was a Republican, but he was NOT a conservative.

      • BrightlyWrought

        Market Capitalism doesn’t so much require a mobile workforce as it does a quality workforce. Often during corporate expansion, local workforce quality is a major contributing factor in companies deciding where to open new branches because quality of workforce factors into productivity.

        But yes, it does matter some, particularly to escape bad places. This is one reason why I think low home prices and housing costs are a good thing because It would seem more difficult to sell homes and move the higher the proportion of income it takes to house yourself.

        I’m a conservative and I do not glorify home ownership. you don’t need to own your house to form solid familial relationships. It is however probably beneficial for good community relationships, which are also important.

        In such case, there needs be no reconciliation. You simply don’t need to reconcile the fact that both putting down roots and being mobile have their benefits. I would submit that ultimately good families tend to make good neighbors and communities.

        • Bob S.

          there needs be no reconciliation. You simply don’t need to reconcile the fact that both putting down roots and being mobile have their benefits

          He wants his home and security
          He wants to live like a sailor at sea

          Beautiful loser
          Where you gonna fall?
          When you realize
          You just can’t have it all

  • Linc Wolverton

    There is a great irony in that the richer we are as a nation the more that we can afford the split-up of the family — which statistically makes us look poorer. Wealth begets poverty.

  • Freddie Sykes

    There is also economic advantage gained from extended families. Many poor, new immigrants advance faster than native born poor because of the household, economics of scale that makes their money go further. Many bring staple foods from their culture like beans and rice which can be bought in bulk at significant savings at their own markets. They also save on housing and utilities as these cost are spread among a larger number of people.

    Things have gone downhill for the native poor since the Great Society which relieved fathers of responsibility and introduced a new nuclear family of the single parent with one or more children.

  • Arclight

    It is amazing to me to see how many people deny the importance of family and stable social relationships in raising children that will go on to be productive, self-sufficient members of society. As any parent knows, your children watch everything you do and mimic a frightening amount of your behavior. What is a young girl (or boy) supposed to make of seeing their parents engaged in a series of relatively short term relationships when forming their own conception of the roles of men and women in society?

  • NahnCee

    I am opposed to paying baby mammas *more* for their illegitimate spawn, trying to make up for the lack of baby daddy’s.

  • kgaard

    The only places the real causes of the decline of the family are being discussed with any truthfulness are disreputable manosphere sites. Politically, it is impossible to address the causes of family breakdown. Thus, it will keep happening. The new movie Elysium is extremely useful as a meditation on where this may lead in 100 years: The elites and the masses will become so differentiated in every respect that the elites literally will live in a different world.

  • GSR

    I’ve been thinking and saying this for several years now. Lack of families (mother, father and a couple of children) is the main, not the only, but the main reason for so many social problems, economics included.

  • theBuckWheat

    One of the main reasons we have arrived at this level of chaos and family disintegration is because far too many people think nothing of assuming control over the affairs and money of others. Socialism is the fraudulent idea that society will be better off when we each live at the expense of others, and that we must allow others to live off of us. The energies of a growing number of people are directed at gaining money for their daily bread through political means rather than by seeking how to earn it honestly by exchanging work for value. In pursuit of “social justice” (whatever that really is), we have made not working pay too well.

    The acme idea that springs from this is that wealth can be created out of thin air by printing money or creating perpetual debt. This is as much a mirage as the suggestion that to give people more time we should declare that an hour had more than 60 minutes in it.

    This economy is not “sustainable”, a concept the left (er “progressives”) love to scold us about. Stein’s Law: something that cannot go on forever, won’t.

    • Cpo

      A disproportionate percentage of that wealth “created out of thin air” goes to what percentage of the population? I think your anger is misguided and misdirected.
      When you allow a subset of your society to go uneducated, they end up unemployed or underemployed. Then you remove manufacturing (low-skill jobs) furthering more job lose…while the cost of food and housing remain the same, how are those people supposed to survive? Would you be really happy with a country that gross Trillions of dollars (GDP) while half of it’s citizens live in abject poverty like those you see on TV in Third World countries?

  • David R. Graham

    With a link from Reynolds I expected more comments than these. Glad to see, anyhow, that you guys are struggling with this matter.

    I’m from the generation of your parents or even grandparents. A fellow SoCal-reared, Claremont, U of Redlands, ’65, Union Theo-Sem, NYC, ’69.

    This sentence stood out to me: “When robbed of the social mores that work to temper mankind’s nature, sin is left unfettered to darken the reflections of God’s nature seen in marriage and family.” Red flags bow, stern and mid-ships on that boat. Too many to list. So I’ll offer another boat: “When a man/woman/child is outside the love of God that redeems mankind’s condition, Sin hides from a man/woman/child the divine nature of marriage and family and, indeed, all creatures.”

    Best wishes!

  • Montgomery Draxel

    Stable families = stable society. Governmental programs with the intention of helping people have created more of a problem by creating a disincentive for marriages.

    Think of how many problems would be solved in the west if the powers that be stopped subsidizing poverty. Education wouldn’t need drastic overhauls if we can all stop lying and point out that the good schools are good because the quality of student (a product of a good family) is far above the low quality seen in failing schools.

    • C.T. Westing

      “Stable families = stable society. Governmental programs with the intention of helping people have created more of a problem by creating a disincentive for marriages.”

      You’re right. When it became easier to “marry” the government than the man who impregnated you, we as a culture began down an unsustainable and destructive path. Now, we find ourselves subsidizing millions mired in generational poverty due in large part to well-intentioned bureaucrats.

  • fred1724

    We have progressively destroyed the solid foundations of marriage. Easy divorce only one of the problems. Government continued removal of any n mention of God, certainly in the public schools, has left society without any anchors of right and wrong. Pile on welfare ad infinitum and you get this socialistic godless state that wants to be god.

  • http://www.tempeteaparty.org Lee Reynolds

    I think that correlation is being confused with causation.

    That members of the underclass eschew marriage, stable families, and various other virtuous behavior patterns does not mean that their failure to embrace these is the cause of their inferiority.

    Rather I believe that sub-par individuals make sub-par choices. These, in turn, lead to sub-par outcomes.

    In ages past, the lack of social mobility meant that the adequate and inadequate were lumped in together. Social stratification was based on inherited status and wealth, not competence.

    That world ended long ago. In the modern era, and especially since the end of WW-II, opportunity for economic and social advancement has exploded. The liberation of women from traditional roles has expanded this even further.

    The result has been the reorganization of society along lines of competence and achievement.

    When people complain about expanding inequality, they are missing the truth that the inequality was always there, its just that it is now manifesting itself like never before.

    People who are intelligent, diligent, industrious, determined and emotionally robust will do well in life. Those who do not possess these qualities in adequate amounts will do poorly in life. That the former tend to choose marriage, stable families and the rest, while the latter do not, is the consequence of their differences, not the cause.

    Winners win.
    Losers lose.
    The mediocre muddle through.

    The best social policy would be one that discourages the sub-par from having children, while encouraging the adequate and worthy to have many children. Rinse and repeat over successive generations and you have a better country. Call it the Poppa John’s model. If better ingredients make better pizzas, better people will surely make for a better society.

    • frylock243

      The question is – How much of the behavior of the subpar learned? I taught in inner city schools for about three years and met many very bright and capable children who were nevertheless following the trajectories of the subpar (as you describe them) likely because that’s the only culture they knew and what they were raised to. I have to ask, had those same children been raised to a different culture, where could they have gone? It wasn’t their ability holding them back, but their upbringing.

      • http://www.tempeteaparty.org Lee Reynolds

        You’re quite right. Problem is, how do you separate them out?

    • Bethany Persons

      You are missing the effect a family has on a person. In a family you have mutual sacrifice for shared success, and not just with the husband and wife. Brothers, sisters, parents, in-laws, adult children are all concerned about the well-being of their family, and make choices to reinforce the well-being of the whole. When a person cuts themselves off from that, by having children before getting married or getting divorced, they not only lose out personally from those connections, they raise children who suffer from a lack of a well developed support network. As it goes on, the network gets weaker and weaker.

      Family doesn’t just provide this network though. It provides a context in which a person learns the character and habits of a “winner”, as you say. For most people character trumps talent in the long run.

      It is hard to imagine any of our remaining social institutions that can provide the same network and character building, besides the church (which goes where the family goes (as everyone’s been discussing in response to Eberstadt’s book).

  • bobbymike34

    Let’s remember the “Julie” commercials understanding that the replacement of the family with the government is the goal of the left. They have been at it for decades and control the media, the education system and the bureaucracy.

  • lhfry

    The left has been attacking the institution of marriage for decades: no-fault divorce,
    de-regulation of sexual behavior, redefinition of what a family is, encouraging
    women to have children out of wedlock, creating “alternative lifestyles” and promoting them through television, movies, other media, painting marriage as exploitive patriarchy, and now genderless marriage. Beyondmarriage.org documents where the left is going: legal recognition of almost any relationship among any number of people, for the purpose of obtaining economic benefits. When everything is a marriage, nothing is a marriage, and the institution will disappear. The consequences are enormous.

  • ellens

    Divorce accelerated in the late 1960s and that seemed to start the ball rolling. Welfare programs have aggravated it. A single mom can get benefits worth 70K by one estimate (PA dept of welfare)

  • Pointout
    • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com/ Matthew Lee Anderson

      Right, because forced sterilization is a *great* idea for solving problems.

      It was a great discussion right up to this comment.

      • Hermonta Godwin

        Matthew,

        Earlier in this convo, we find “Rather I believe that sub-par individuals make sub-par choices. These, in turn, lead to sub-par outcomes.”

        If that is true, then coercive tactics such as forced sterilzation become open options.

        My point is that I don’t think it is reasonable to scream murder at this comment without attacking the precursors.

        • http://www.mereorthodoxy.com/ Matthew Lee Anderson

          Duly noted. I’ve been skimming them through the “instalaunch” and missed that. Trust me: I would have skewered that, too, had I noticed it.

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