How to frighten conservatives.

Acknowledge that the family as an institution faces competition from people choosing to live alone, and celebrate that development as the epitome of everything liberalism stands for: diversity in life choices, allowing each individual to find the best way to their own happiness, be that as a bachelor or a happily married mum.

Naturally, this will lead to the decline of America as a great society, fostering egoism and destroying ethical behaviour. Kids of the future have no hope. The ties that bind us are being severed. You can sense Benjamin E. Schwartz shaking:

[T]he role of children Klinenberg appreciates most has nothing much to do with social reproduction or the preservation of a society’s moral compass, but rather with companionship. This conceptualization is reflected in the parenting style of baby boomers and members of Generation X who aim to be “friends” with their children. Inadvertently, one would presume, Klinenberg has created a functional equivalence between a child and a Chihuahua.

Ha! And in conclusion:

If someone in my past forsook instant gratification to allow me to become who I am, does this obligate me to do the same? Am I responsible for ensuring that certain values outlast and outlive me? America’s strength is a function of many factors, but certainly one of them is that for generations citizens answered these questions affirmatively. The popularity of “going solo”, which Klinenberg’s data strongly affirms, doesn’t necessarily mean that Americans are answering “no” to these questions. It’s worse than that: As more of us spend more of our lives alone, we’re less likely to even confront them. By default, we are now allowed the novel conceit that selfishness is a virtue.

Those bastard, evil twenty-somethings, enjoying life alone and not fulfilling their God-given function of having as many children as possible as soon as they’re able to do so. How dare they.


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