When Marxists Make the Anti-Family Argument Honestly
"There is no reason that a teen should not be financially and emotionally assisted for her choice to have a family." — Madeleine Schwartz
November 12, 2012 - 11:07 am
Isn’t it great when Marxists eschew the Saul Alinsky strategy of obscuring their unpopular objectives and instead return to the New Left tradition of openly stating their destructive goals?
Please, by all means, start telling us all about how you want to destroy each institution that sustains Western civilization.
Check out this fantastic piece at The New Inquiry by Madeleine Schwartz, “The Anti-Family,” lamenting that MTV’s Teen Mom show “does not attempt radical advocacy”:
In presenting these relationships in with dignity, Teen Mom acknowledges what it viewers may not wish to know: this is the shape of the family in America today. The show does not attempt radical advocacy, but it does understand that the most fundamental patterns in American life can’t be covered up. Teen motherhood, single motherhood, unmarried cohabitation—these are not plagues or social ills that pose a threat to the otherwise normal structures of everyday life. They are our new social reality.
What the show doesn’t get to is that this is a good thing.
There is nothing wrong with teenage or single motherhood. The things children need: economic livelihood, emotional support and an education, are not dependent on a nuclear family structure. Poverty is poverty whether it’s endured by two people or four. A couple cannot raise a child better than one can. Once we get rid of the idea that marriage is the privileged form of cohabitation and that women cannot raise children without the help of a man—ideas that the Left has been working to eradicate for decades—there is no reason that a teen should not be financially and emotionally assisted for her choice to have a family. The potential diffusion of the family (as the New York Times recently reported, it doesn’t look like the trends will stop anytime soon) is one of the most exciting things to happen to the American social pattern since sexual liberation. It means the end of what were just decades ago universal truths: every household must be headed by a breadwinning man; only when married will a woman have social value.
The problem is not teen motherhood. The problem is the legal system that makes the lives of teenage and single parents impossible. The shaming and belittling of teenage mothers is not just rhetoric: Teenage parents are actively discriminated against. Teen parents cannot receive financial assistance unless they live with their parents or marry. They cannot get welfare if they are not enrolled in an educational program.. In some cases, the state can deny all benefits to babies born to unmarried teenage parents. Welfare reform has taken money earmarked for families in need and diverted it toward programs aimed at promoting marriage and abstinence (For example: “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”). All of this comes on top of the routine discriminations against single parents—higher insurance and tax rates, difficulties in obtaining housing and jobs—and those against the poor, who with the Hyde Amendment may not even have been able to abort if they had wanted. These policies were created with the explicit goal encouraging a two-parent model. They make any other option out of the question.
One almost reads stuff like this and wonders if it’s some Onion-style parody of Marxism. “The problem is the legal system that makes the lives of teenage and single parents impossible.” Translation: the real problem is that the United States has not fully implemented a wealth redistribution apparatus to subsidize teenage moms who “choose” to become single parents. Hmm… How might anyone manage that in the next four years?
I have written for The Believer, The New Yorker online, The New Inquiry and The Daily, among other places. My work has been referenced in The Atlantic and The Economist.
Until May 2012, I was an undergraduate at Harvard, where I studied ancient and Renaissance history. As a student, I wrote a column about women at the university for The Crimson, was an editor at The Advocate and worked for the head of the Harvard library. From 2010 to 2011, I was a Ledecky Fellow at Harvard Magazine.
I am currently studying at Oxford as a Henry Fellow.
I wonder how how much money Schwartz has spent on her education…
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