Saturday, February 18, 2012

Brooks is Right About Bourgeois Paternalism

David Brooks issues a call for "bourgeois paternalism" to rebuild the organizations and structures that induce people to behave responsibly.

I believe he is exactly right.  And I can't think of a better word than "induce."  You can't force people to be responsible.  There is no foolproof way to raise them to be responsible.  No genes guarantee it.  No family structure can be attentive enough to get responsible results every time.

BUT orderly families in orderly communities which are at least trying, unequivocally, to promote responsible behavior and eliminate irresponsible behavior is essential.  No amount of incentive or coercion - the favored left and right strategies - will work without responsible people.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Asian Exception to Rising Intermarriage

About 15% of new marriages are to people of different races or ethnicities, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.  This is about double the rate of intermarriage of a generation ago.

The one group in which out-marriage went down recently was among Asian-Americans.  Asians had the highest intermarriage rate of any of the standard racial groups in this country to begin with - 30.8% in 2008.  But this rate dropped slightly to 27.7% in 2010.

I think I know why.  Highly educated people like to marry one another. Asian-Americans are much more educated than other racial groups.  Even though there are not many Asians in America, they are much more likely to be college graduates - making a good marriage pool for other college graduates.

About 23% of white-white couples are college graduates.

About 53% of Asian-Asian couples are college graduates.

And white-Asian couples? Only 41%.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do Women Prefer Older Men, But Men Prefer One Age of Women?

David Buss, the author of The Evolution of Desire, a mainstay of my "Family Life" class, gave a lecture at Centre College tonight on "Human Mating Strategies."

He reported the familiar data that women seek men who are a little older than they are, whereas men prefer women who are a little younger. He showed that there is more variation in how much younger the men want to go, depending on the culture.  The women do not vary as much.

I had a thought as I was listening to him.  It is a hunch, but is worth testing.

Women prefer to marry men who are a little older than they are.

Men prefer to marry women who are in their early twenties.

A way to test this would be to ask the absolute age of a preferred mate, not the age relative to the person being asked.

Another way would be to ask teenage boys, to see if they, uniquely, are more attracted to women older than themselves.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Educated Women Over 40 Now More Likely to Marry

A generation ago a report that came be known as the Harvard-Yale Study spread the scary word that a college-educated woman who was still single at 40 was more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to get married.

This was not entirely true, and was not the main point of the study in any case.  But it is important background to this exciting change in the life of American women:

And according to calculations by the economist Betsey Stevenson, an educated woman still single at age 40 is much more likely to marry in the next decade than her less educated counterparts.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Contraception at Catholic Institutions: A Reasonable Compromise

I appreciate the justice of both sides of the recent argument about whether religiously affiliated institutions which employ and serve everyone should be required to offer contraceptives as part of their insurance coverage.

The issue is not about the freedom of religion.  By way of comparison, if churches were required to provide something contrary to their doctrine to their ministers, who were required to adhere to the doctrine, that would violate the freedom of religion.

But practically every large denomination sponsors ministries that serve the public - the Catholic Church most of all.  And nearly all of those ministries do not have a religious test for employment for every job. Therefore, as far as employee insurance goes, they are in the same boat as secular employers.

Nonetheless, I think the First Amendment requires the state to bend over backwards to try to accommodate the sensibilities of religious institutions, as well as what they can claim in strict justice.

So the decision by the Obama administration to not require church-related public ministries to pay for contraception directly, but instead to require their insurance carriers to do it, seems to me a just compromise.