Why conservatives must embrace “Children’s Equality”
I was talking to Dr. Morse yesterday, and asked her to think back to when she was a young girl in school. “How many kids were from divorced families?” I asked her. She said she could think of one. The rest lived with their married biological parents. Before the Sexual Revolution, there used to be an important and unrecognized equality among children: nearly every child lived with his/her married parents.
Let’s think for a moment about what the Sexual Revolution has done to equality from the child’s point of view. In the name of adult sexual liberation, we now have a tremendous amount of family/structural inequality among children. Some kids live with their married parents, and many do not:
- Nearly 40% of births are out of wedlock
- A majority of teens don’t live in intact families
- One in three children live in single parent homes
The quantifiable results of this new inequality are staggering. I don’t need to recap them here as they are well documented elsewhere (this link is a good resource). Even so, my point here is not to focus on the quantifiable results of this new inequality among children, but instead to encourage conservatives to embrace equality as a talking point for our marriage and family structure arguments. It seems obvious that equality is the the primary idea that matters anymore to many people when it comes to politics and rights. Think about it. How many times do you see or hear phrases like these?
- income inequality
- racial inequality
- class inequality
- gender inequality
- wage inequality
- wealth inequality
- marriage equality
- …and I’m sure there are other kinds of equality/inequality that people care about.
For myself, I find equality arguments shallow, and I suspect a lot of other conservatives feel the same way. This may explain why we don’t rely on them and tend to not be persuaded by them. But there is no doubt that the idea of equality is like a rising tide—many people care about it a lot. So my suggestion is for conservatives to begin working within the equality framework, since this framework makes sense to people and they care about it. Here are some phrases we can use:
- children’s equality (or inequality)
- family structure equality (or inequality)
- structural equality (or inequality)
The idea is to raise awareness about what’s happening to kids’ family structures. Here are some examples of how to use these ideas:
- “Natural marriage enhances family structure equalities among children.”
- “Divorce creates structural inequalities among children.” (You can substitute “out of wedlock childbearing,” “same sex marriage,” “single parenting,” and “blended families,” for “divorce” in this example.)
- “The Sexual Revolution has raised inequalities among childrens’ family structures.”
- “Before the Sexual Revolution, there was more equality among childrens’ family structures.”
It’s the same argument we’ve been making. By framing it within the equality framework, we are able to make the argument in a new way. We are comparing the current situation among childrens’ family structures with how things used to be in the past. Arguments about “income inequality” follow this same pattern. Here is an example. Notice the past tense of “…has gotten…”:
I found this image here. Look how easy it is to take the same pattern and apply it to our arguments.
“Family structure inequalities have gotten so extreme in the United States, that American children are now less likely than children in Asia and the Middle East to be raised with two parents. Jordan is ahead of the U.S. So is India. So is Mexico.” (WorldFamilyMap.org). Wouldn’t you agree that this makes an excellent conversation starter for your friends who are indifferent, or even hostile, to the normal way we make the argument? I’m sure you will agree that it’s important to meet people where they are. Since equality is important to a lot of people, then conservatives should talk about equality–children’s equality.