Phi Beta Cons

Academic Theories Affect the Real World

Stanley Kurtz’s article at the Weekly Standard, “Polygamy versus Democracy,” concerning the movement aimed at legalizing polygamy and other forms of sexual connection, is stunning in more ways than one. It is most instructive to see how 19th-century America fought Mormon polygamy and took a firm and principled stand for monogamous marriage as an essential aspect of constitutional democracy, as the proper form for male-female bonding and for the rearing of children in a society built on the sanctity of the individual. 19th-century Americans realized that American ideals, though universal, require specific underlying social and cultural forms in order to be preserved.

The authors of “The Future of Family Law: Law and the Marriage Crisis in North America,” published by the Institute for American Values in 2005, and available at their website, also tell of trouble in family matters. Family law is changing focus altogether, they write. Marriage is no longer being seen as the pre-eminent social institution for bonding between the sexes and rearing children, but as only one of many types of “close personal relationships” that adults can form.

The authors marvel at how quickly these developments took place: “A particular school of thought openly aimed at re-conceptualizing marriage first took root in the academy in the 1980s. By the late 1990s it had come to dominate fashionable academic theorizing on sexual intimacy” and is now transforming “family law from its historic role as the protector of marriage into something very close to its antagonist.”

Most Popular

Culture

Jussie Smollett Changes His Story Again

The actor Jussie Smollett continues to talk about the alleged January 29 attack on him during a frigid night in Chicago, giving Good Morning America his fullest description yet of his claims. It differs substantially from what he told police initially after the alleged assault. Smollett told GMA that the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

We’ll Regret This

Mitch McConnell says the president will sign the budget deal and he will also declare a national emergency to build the wall, as I expected. We’ll see the legal justifications he uses, but as a political and constitutional matter this is a long-term disaster. Oh, it might be good for Trump according to the ... Read More
White House

The Failure of the Deal

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (But especially Sammie), I had my say on the emergency declaration yesterday, and I’m sure I’ll have to say it all again not very far ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Capitalism’s Cold War

The story of capitalism since the 1980s has been that of a kind of cold war between capital and politics. In the decade prior, American government was at the nadir of its prestige and credibility. The so-called War on Poverty, launched with great fanfare and idealism in the late 1960s, quickly collided with ... Read More
U.S.

Trump Declares National Emergency to Fund Border Wall

President Trump declared a national emergency on Friday in order to unilaterally appropriate $3.6 billion for the construction of his long-promised border wall. The announcement, made during a televised White House Rose Garden ceremony, came after Congress passed a bipartisan homeland-security-funding bill ... Read More