Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Scanzoni's Family View Goes Another Giant Step to the Left

John Scanzoni, a well-known family sociologist, has a new book, Healthy American Families: A Progressive Alternative to the Religious Right. Most of the book is the familiar liberal argument that all close relationships are equally good, marriage is an outdated institution, and children shouldn't interfere with adult autonomy.

Lately this argument has been putting more emphasis on these autonomous adults partnering with their soul mates - for as long as they feel like soul mates. Scanzoni praises Abigail Adams, John Adams' "remarkable soul mate (who also happened to be his wife and the manager of their farm)."

Likewise, divorce is nothing to lament. Rather, he offers as one his ten guidelines for progressive family life that "love and autonomy govern the transitions between being partnered and partner-free."

Scanzoni also says that it more environmentally responsible not to have children, or at least to have a "child-minimum" one-child family.

Scanzoni was raised an evangelical Christian, and went to Moody Bible Institute in the 1950s. He writes here as a "recovering evangelical" who is now against "christianists" who would impose their view of the divine on others. I don't think the religious theme is actually essential to his argument - he would be equally imposed to secular family scholars who emphasize the benefits to adults and, especially, to children of marriage.

The culture wars live, as shown by this salvo.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Here's an article not wholly related to what you're talking about, but it came to mind after reading.