Saturday, June 30, 2012

Justice Roberts' Decision in the Health Care Case is a Triumph for Centrism

Chief Justice John Roberts agreed with the conservatives that the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause are not a sufficient foundation for the individual mandate in the universal healthcare law.  He agreed with the liberals, though, that the mandate could stand, because it is not really a mandate but an exercise of Congress' taxing power.

Some see this as an incoherent position, or some kind of sellout.  I disagree.  I think the Chief Justice has forged an important centrist position. 

In fact, I think he may be finding his way to be the leader of the middle of the court, so that the Supreme Court is more than just a battle of left vs. right.  He has said that he wants to see - to create - more unanimous decisions, and fewer of the horrible 5-4 slugfests that we have seen in recent years.  I wish him very well in that quest.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hymowitz is Right About Young Adults Not Understanding What Marriage Does - But Did They Ever?

Kay Hymowitz' new book, Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys, argues that young men and women are delaying marriage so much these days because they see it as something you do when you are already an adult. Now, young people who plan ahead try to get all their education done and their careers started before they marry and have children. For many women, this means they wait too long for kids.  Men do not have the same timeline, so the mismatch between the sexes creates the problem Hymowitz is writing about. There is, she argues, no certain script for adulthood, which leaves "emergent adults" emerging (or floundering) for a long time.

I think this is true - which raises an important question about the past.

Prior generations found marriage to be a formative institution of maturity.  You got married, then you figured out together how to be adults, especially when the first child came along. The script of adulthood often began with early marriage, with or without pregnancy, with growing maturity to follow.

The question I put to her at a recent seminar was this: did past generations understand marriage to be something that forms you into an adult, or did they just get married as part of the script, and then find out how formative marriage is through experience?

Hymowitz didn't know, and neither do I.  I put this question to you, blog friends, for your thoughts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blankenhorn Evolves to a Centrist Position on Same-Sex Marriage

David Blankenhorn, the head of the Institute for American Values, is an important advocate for marriage and for responsible fatherhood.  Recently he has become a noted opponent of same-sex marriage, especially during the Proposition 8 debate in California.

This week he changed his position, coming out in support of same-sex marriage. He has not changed his views that, on the whole, children do best when raised by their married natural parents. But he now says that "the equal dignity of homosexual love" is also an important social principle. The children raised by same-sex couples would be better off if their parents were married, and therefore social policy should be changed to make it possible for same-sex parents to marry.

I believe Blankenhorn's evolution to a centrist position on same-sex marriage is commendable.