So much of our political dialogue isn't serious. Here's a recent example.
Senator Glen Grothman is being criticized for suggesting that nonmarital parenthood is related to child abuse. He has sponsored a bill to require the state Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to create educational materials that would stress the connection between nonmarital parenthood and child abuse.
All the usual suspects are up in arms. This is supposedly "anti-women" and "ignorant." It "targets" and "labels" single mothers. Tanya Atkinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood, says that ""[w]omen are really really getting fed up by all of this kind of legislation, they want it to stop and we're seeing them really raise up their voices ...."
Let's put aside the fact that "women" do not generally do anything en masse and, I'm pretty sure, did not elect Tanya Atkinson gender spokesperson. There is one inconvenient fact.
Grothman may well be right.
I've done a of reading on this in connection with the marriage issue. There is an awful lot of support for Grothman's position. Children raised in single parent and step families are more likely to be the victims of abuse and neglect.This is not to say that all - or, thank God, even most - single or step parents will be abusers. It simply reflects the fact that raising children alone or with someone who is not that child's biological parent (and, therefore, likely to be less invested in that child) is difficult. Although some people try to dismiss the correlation by pointing out that single parent households are poorer, this doesn't explain away the phenomenon and poverty can itself be the product of single parenthood. At the very least, the correlation presents a series of questions that policymakers cannot ignore
The uncomfortable fact is that family structure appears to matter. While there are people who pull it off well, the difficulties of single and step families lead to a higher rate of abuse and neglect and poorer outcomes for kids than we find in households of married biological parents. The Brady Bunch was one of the crueler myths of the Sixties.
I'm not so sure that I like the bill. I don't know that it helps much to fund another government agency to tell people what to do. But that's a libertarian objection and an expression of suspicion about the ability of government - as opposed to organic institutions - to have much impact on people by putting out pamphlets and holding meetings. Grothman's critics on the left are generally unconcerned about government getting up in people's business.
They just think that Big Macs and inefficient light bulbs are a greater threat to the public weal than children raised without fathers.
The larger point is that Grothman has spoken a truth that the left doesn't want to hear. So they'll distort it and vilify him. They'll do it even though he has got an awful lot of evidence on his side.
Tell me again who's anti-intellectual?