Lots of talk in this article but no solutions offered. Are the authors
suggesting that government impose these beliefs on the populace? Censor movies
and tv shows? Institute a theocracy? Providing a good example by honoring the
family in our individual groups is the only Constitutional way to influence
others. People can then see the happiness and strength that comes from strong
families. Railing against the bad choices of others is non productive. Those you
are trying to persuade will only tune you out.
I think it should also be noted that while an ever-declining birth rate is
difficult to maintain, due to the pressure it puts on the smaller working
population to support a larger group of retirees, the inverse is also just as
problematic. When you have a birth rate this is overpopulating the planet, you
end up with a huge battle for resources. I, for one--in this technological age
of automation--would much rather face the issue of taking care of additional
elderly than face a lack of basic necessities due to irresponsible
child-bearing.The healthiest alternative would be to stick to a
birth rate that is close to the replacement level, without any sharp increases
or decreases, allowing flexibility for society to adjust without creating huge
problems of either overpopulation or underpopulation.
Some truth in the article, but also simplicity and generalizations, which are
then translated into absurd extremes, as in the comment by John Charity
Spring.Matters are much more complex than presented and are
different in many parts of the world. The future depends on issues of ecology,
sustainability, climate change, air quality, food and water supply, and more.
People who really care about the future of families and children focus on such
issues, rather than making people believe it's only a question of making
more babies in "intact families".
Selnick said "lots of talk in this article but no solutions offered."Here's a possible solution. If democratic societies are not as
attuned to future generations as they should be, perhaps the most direct way to
correct that imbalance would be to give children voting representation in their
government. Granted, children are not sophisticated enough to exercise their
own vote. But parents are sophisticated and can be trusted to represent their
children's interests better than anyone else in society. So why not give
custodial parents extra voting rights for their children? As one example, in a
family with mom + dad + 3 kids under 18, mom and dad would each exercise their
own vote + 1.5 votes for their children, for a total of 5 votes.
Selznick: "Are the authors suggesting that government impose these beliefs
on the populace?"While I think it would be great if our
government, the media, and Hollywood encouraged the formation and continuation
of the family, I don't think that will happen anytime soon.It
would be a big improvement if they would just stop trying to tear down families
through raunchy movies, mocking of religious beliefs, and welfare programs that
discourage marriage, family, and work.
They aren't assumptions!Fact: A Male and Female are required to
procreate.Computers have hardware and software. You can write
software that runs well, buggy, or doesn't run at all. People will try to
create their own reality, morality, mortality, desires and consequence. However,
no matter how much code you try to write, that code can't change the CPU
that is running it. Perhaps someone could design a computer that could change
its own hardware. But then the creator is ultimately responsible for the design
of the machine and what is possible with it.We like to define
ourselves. People do it with politics, self "identity", tattoos, etc.
The list is endless. These are all choices, like choosing to learn to play the
trumpet. But you can't suddenly decide that you don't have ears, never
did, and that even if you did they were meant for consuming food. It
doesn't work that way.Fact: We cannot choose the design of our
bodiesFact: We are free to choose what we do with our bodiesFact:
Some choices are destructive, some are productiveFact: Where you see
families fall, society falls with it
Most people don't question the fact that the "family is the basic unit
of society." What is questioned is your right to define my family.
While there may some scholars who see family in different terms and posit their
arguments accordingly, I don't see the same in the real world. In fact, I
see a lot of encouraging signs that the family structure is highly valued,
including with families who have little financial means. I would argue that the
corporate culture and the income shift to the already wealthy in our society
that the right so highly values is actually harmful to families. Address
employment, financial security for the masses, retirement security, health care
availability, and so forth, and the family structure will be stronger. I have
to wonder if the demise of good employee benefits, including defined benefit
retirement plans, low cost health insurance and other programs, and the
weakening of employee rights (including the erosion of unions), parallels the
apparent weakening of the family structure. I think conservative principles are
more the cause of harm to families than anything ever conceived by the so-called
As technology and corporate farming decreased the number of people needed in
rural America, people have congregated in urban areas for jobs. Outsourcing and
technology has had a downward press on wages which has made it hard for people
to afford a large home in urban environments to accommodate a large family.
College has become another reason people have fewer kids. They want to have
kids go to college to survive in this more urban world, but it's too
expensive.Obama's efforts to help kids go to college has made
things worse. Colleges just keep raising prices faster than inflation and kids
end up with more and more debt to be serviced by the lower wages.Colleges need to be more affordable. Get rid of those stupid esoteric degrees
and fancy facilities. decrease the number of Gen Ed classes so kids can finish
in 4 years. We also need to help businesses grow to increase wages. Lower
taxes on businesses and individuals so people can afford college and maybe
they'll have more kids.Promote telecommuting so that people can
live in more affordable rural areas so they can afford a larger house. Cut
immigration of the uneducated.
If you can't figure out what the Eyre's just wrote, there is nothing
specific that would help any readers here. Thank goodness for immigration in
America today. Immigrants bring children into the world because they have more
hope than many citizens. They came to America because it is a bastion of hope
and children are the result of that hope. The fear mongers who talk about
overpopulation haven't looked at the real world for decades. It
doesn't help to point out that 7 billion people could live in Washington
County (where I live) and each still have 10 square feet to live--and that is
without skyscrapers and apartment complexes, etc. Obviously a little crowded,
but nevertheless showing how big this world is and how many people it can
support. Upwards of thousand billion has been estimated by credible scientists,
including a minimum of at least 80 billion. That is without advances in food
productions, technology, etc. that were unheard of 50 years ago. Those who
predicted mass starvation by the year 2000 are still around. There is
"enough and to spare" for those who believe in family and have faith.
If people want to see this trend change, then the real issues surrounding the
phenomenon are going to have to be looked at honestly. It's commonplace to
hear a lot of shaming talk aimed at men in particular, the good ol'
"man-up" lecture, but the fact is that marriage in this day and age is a
far riskier and less rewarding proposition for men, what with the high
probability for divorce, and crippling divorce terms almost a guarantee.
It's going to take a lot more than citing statistics about the health and
wealth enjoyed by married people, when it is well known how bad the health and
wealth is of men who end up divorced. Dr. Helen Smith explains this in her
books. Another issue facing those of marriage age is the fact that getting
married and having kids is not as easy as getting a car registered. Many in
older generations don't appreciate how unattainable the dream of marriage
and children can be these days. It's not a matter of young people not
trying hard enough, or looking in the wrong places, but a matter of old
paradigms being incompatible with modern courtship "games".
My take away from this article is: declining birthrates is a first world
problem. But in the third-world our NGOs preach that educating women is a good
thing and in the same breath cite that a literate woman is less likely to have
large familys than their Illiterate Third world woman peers. Some
other government programs addressing this declining birth-rate issue are just
wrong headed. For example, in the Old Soviet Union after WWII, so many Millions
of Soviet men died fighting the Nazi invasion that the Soviet regime opted to
subsidize population restoration by giving stipends to Soviet mothers having
child after child regardless of their marital status. Of course a lot of Soviet
men took advantage of this programn. Russian/Soviet society is still reaping the
whirlwind from that program. Do we ban post secondary education for
most if not all of American Women? I don't think that will fly politcally.
@Light and Liberty"Obviously a little crowded"Bit of
an understatement there since a bed is around 10sq ft."Upwards
of thousand billion has been estimated by credible scientists, including a
minimum of at least 80 billion."I'm sure the drought going
on in California would be just fantastic with 10x as many people there...why do
we always complain in Utah when Colorado and Nevada want more water from our
rivers if there's 'plenty and to spare', when Utah hasn't
10x'd their population yet? An India with 10 billion people... a southeast
asia with 30 billion people between India China Pakistan Indonesia and the
others... WWIII would occur over water.
The Eyre's opening thesis that the family, the basic unit of society, is
under question is false. Society is not questioning that the family is the basic
unit of society, society is questioning that family can only be defined as one
man and one woman as the Eyre's allege. There are many
societies that are matriarchal, where men play little role in the family. Yet
these families are strong. In the United States, the rise of successful single
mother and father "families" and "families" who have same sex
parents, all underscore that the world does not have to fear this evolution.
Numerous studies have indicated that children with same sex parents far as well
as those who have opposite sex parents and study from Australia indicates
children from same sex families may indeed be happier and healthier.Eyre's spread fear and misinformation by cherry picking their social
security numbers, ignoring the fact that most seniors are on social security and
medicare and thus get a disproportionate amount of Federal money. Ignored, is
the fact that after baby boomers die, the number of aged Americans will decrease
Here's a question: does the decline of the family cause economic distress
or does the decline of the economy cause familial distress and dissolution. One
can argue both sides of this. But consider that the golden age of the American
family was the 30 - 35 years following WWII when blue collar jobs (well paid)
were plentiful and higher education was a bargain.The American
family began its decay with stagnant wages, higher education costs, capital
flight, and the the top heavy wealth distribution of the present. I believe the
distress of the family is due to the decay of capitalism. Of course
the Eyres being true blue LDS emphasize individual responsibility at the expense
of seeing stress from the system.
The traditional family structure is the ONLY thing that will hold society
together. No redefinitions or denial of this fact will work. I can't
believe how many people think they can rationalize this basic fact. Since the
traditional family is under attack relentlessly, it is quite clear that we are
in jeopardy of going over the cliff. I hope the Savior comes soon.
@Cats" Since the traditional family is under attack
relentlessly"My parents divorced which I suppose sometimes made
things... difficult. However, attacking my family and deeming it substandard
does nothing to help anybody. Nobody is attacking the traditional family, we
just think that we should be trying to seek the best outcomes for all families
regardless of whether there are stepparents, single parent, raised by
grandparents, cohabiting, married (straight or gay), adopted, whatever.
You're not going to unborn the child that is being raised by a single
mother, so instead of just criticizing a single mother who when given a choice
chose life, why not do something constructive rather than destructive?
That's all we're saying.
The Eyres are spot on. The family is the cornerstone of modern society. They
should join in pushing for legal gay marriages and gay adoptions to help create
more stable families. Denying homosexuals the right to marry and adopt limits
their ability to create legal, two parent families.
Once again, I have trouble with the credibility of the over-the-top claims of
the Eyres. It sounds like mere hyperbole and strident preaching.The
claim is that "Basic assumptions about the family are UNDER FIRE".By whom? Who is "firing" at assumptions about family? Who is
"attacking" families, or the concept of families?Nobody.Same sex couples want to get married to one another to strengthen their
families. There are no shots being fired from them.That
"childlessness, singleness or one-child families [are] increasingly
prominent" is a societal shift, but who is "firing" at families?
They don't say.That some Taiwanese women under 50 said they did
not want children, means what? Who is attacking families there?"Libertarian-Libertine Assault on the American Dream"? What? Every
Libertarian I know (and I know quite a few) believes people should be left to
have a family (or not) as they please. How is that "attacking" families?
Why blame Libertarians for "assaulting" the American Dream/Families?
Aren't those who are trying to deny marriage equality the ones who are
really "assaulting" families?The double-speak, hyperbole,
and nonsense in this article is just too much.
Dear Schnee:EVERYONE is attacking the traditional family! It is
under attack from all quarters, from all sides, from everywhere. And there are
even some who try to pretend that a new redefinition and made up version of a
family is somehow just as legitimate. The traditional family has become so
degraded in society that society is almost on the verge of collapse. Truth is
truth no matter how much we pretend otherwise.There are none so
blind as those who will see.
Do the Eyre's e-v-e-r have something positive to say about the way things
are? Even a good ol' Dickens "it was the best of times, it was the
worst of times" would satisfy me. Or will it always be about how bad
everyone else is in these the last days? I am a little tired of their incessant
message that the sky is falling.How about a 100%-positive article
about the courage of single parents, or maybe those who soldier on as parents
despite physical or mental disabilities? How about getting real and
acknowledging that raising kids is about constant correction and instruction up
to 50x per day or more? How about teaching relationship skills in your articles
rather than incessantly running the rest of the world down? Or maybe even
something about the Atonement of Christ rescuing people from their mistakes, or
the fact that the Lord set life up like it is on purpose, and we're all in
a great big learning experience together?
@Cats"EVERYONE is attacking the traditional family! "I
graduated from high school almost 10 years ago. A decent number of my friends
have married and have children. I've never seen a single person attack
someone for marrying. I've never seen a single person attack someone for
having a child in wedlock. Nobody is attacking the traditional family just like
nobody is attacking traditional marriage. Refusing to attack people for having a
different living situation is not an attack on traditional families.
@Cats wrote: "The traditional family structure is the ONLY thing that will
hold society together."Especially when you're busy trying
to exclude non-traditional families from society.
This sounds more a book declaring the problem of population implosion. Which is
real. But that isn't about family it's about population and maybe
immigration. The government's role is to make sure people can
chose what they like. Have the infrastructure to support a country with a lot of
people under 30 or a lot of people over 30. Making sure people can afford to
live to live to 90, making sure people can afford to have children. When
countries encourage few or several children the state ends up with a massive
number of children wards of the state. Like Russia and China. Even their
encouragements change every generation. The eyre's want everyone to marry
and have several kids. They married and had several kids.
I did think they mentioned some solutions such as bonuses and tax breaks to
couples for having children. The USA does this with tax deductions but countries
like Russia are upping the game a bit with direct cash.
What misdirected, misfocused nonsense!In 1950, the world population
was 2.5 billion souls. In 2050, even at the present declining rate of growth,
population projections show there'll be nearly 9.5 billion. Human
reproduction is apparently in no danger as long as we don't wipe ourselves
out due to overcrowding or some nuclear-tipped holy war.Even if we
wanted to return to a pre-industrial, agrarian economy based on individual
family 10-acre intensive-manual-labor farming, we'd lose much more than
we'd gain. While going back to preindustrial times would solve much of the
global warming problem, it would also mean poverty and starvation for many, and
shorter lifespans for all. Which is actually good, because unless one
generation dies off, there won't be room for the next on that 10-acre
"A generation ago, no one would have questioned the premise that the family
is the basic unit of society. Today, it is questioned from many sides."This is a false statement. People want family life now more than ever.
Almost all of us know life is intolerable with existence inside of a family.
That's one the reasons gays and lesbians want it so badly.
BioPowertrain,Just because this message didn't help you
doesn't mean it didn't help me. I didn't find it negative and it
relates to my life even if it doesn't to yours. It's perfectly okay if
it doesn't.When I was a teenager who wasn't as mature and
knowledgeable about what is true and what isn't, I thought a teacher was
being negative to me. When in fact, they were trying to help me and I simply
wouldn't listen. Even imperfect people trying to help may be saying
something that's true. But if you aren't ready to hear it, or if
it's primarily a message to someone else... then we need to remember to
move on without the criticism.That advise has helped me. I hope it
can help you.
My goodness: so a bevy of gay marriage advocates here have made this discussion
on the decline in marriage and birth rates and their impacts into an assault on
gays. Not the case; that's not what this article described. Indeed, the
traditional family (a married man and woman with kids) is waning, its impacts
will be massive, and very few people raise this important topic. The roar about
gay marriage is, as an ancillary, so loud that we aren't addressing other
important considerations relative to profound family and cultural shifts. We
would all greatly benefit from ceasing to call names and impugn, and focus on
I think some readers have forgotten that this article is an excerpt from a book
called The Turning. I have the book (published today) and it does indeed talk
about solutions and positives. The first half of the book is about the problem
(the Turning Away) and the second half is about the answers--it is called
Turning Back (toward family.) Anything but negative, I find the Eyre's
logical in first trying to help understand the problem and the decline of
families (and they pretty well prove their point with statistics and trends) and
then talking about the how-tos of solving the problem.
Population control is a naturally occurring phenomenon in most nations. The more
prosperous a nation becomes, the smaller the family size decreases to, due to a
family's opportunity to earn more money and enjoy other pleasures of life.
Overpopulation is a boogeyman and a distraction from the real problem being
faced which is a nation's inability to maintain its population level, as
described in this article.
Some countries have an aging population and some have a youth population, with
most the population under 30. What in the world does that have to the with an
attack on the family? Where is the attack on the family? Are people in the US
not allowed to be single, marry, have children, not have children, raise their
child, care for their parents until natural death, give birth to any child
conceived? The only sign of an attack on the family is how fathers are losing
their rights to raise their children when church and state decide to let a mom
place a baby with another family without his knowledge or consent. It's a
loss for the child and the dad.
@1reader the only person I see even coming close to doing what you claim
is cats and they are complaining because they think the gay community is
attacking "traditional marriage." I do see a lot of people talking about
shifts in population due to changes in how people make their living which
effects were and how we live, maybe you would care to actually address these
points rather then your straw man.
Humans discount the future (we don't consider where things will be in the
future). The decline in the importance of family would reduce even further our
need to consider the future (there may be a link). That would help explain how
we could be 16.7 trillion of dollars in debt (our government debt) without much
noticing, and seemingly unconcerned about our projected continuous deficits.