May 27, 2012

"Twenty years later, [Dan] Quayle’s words seem less controversial than prophetic."

Writes Elizabeth Sawhill in the Washington Post, citing the increased number of children born to unmarried mothers and correlations between being such a child and having a worse outcome in life.

Now, what Quayle said was:
“Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong... Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong. We must be unequivocal about this. It doesn’t help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.”
Quayle took some gratuitous shots at women in his notorious remark, and he could just as easily have put his main point in a way that nearly everyone would agree with. So, I dislike this simple declaration that he was right (which I've seen many times). He phrased it in a way that's either deliberately or unwittingly provocative.

Some single-parent families are better than others and some mother-and-father families are worse than others. I question whether it's the single parent per se that's the problem — where it can be shown that it's worse — or whether more women who get into the single-parent position are the irresponsible/disagreeable/poorly skilled kind of person.

Another problem with what Quayle said is that he characterized the kind of woman that we'd presume to be responsible — the "intelligent, highly paid professional woman" — as doing 2 things she might not have been doing: 1. "mocking the importance of fathers," and 2. treating child-bearing as "just another lifestyle choice." This "Murphy Brown" woman might very well prefer to have a solid marriage with a father in the house but not be able to make that happen. And she might dearly and virtuously want to mother a child.

I know Quayle was saying that the TV character provided women with a role model and might have fooled us into thinking raising a child alone would be easier than it is, but he was focused on getting out a rival moral message. Murphy Brown is telling you it's fine, but I need you to know it's wrong. There's a difference between saying it will be hard and it's simply wrong.

148 comments:

MadisonMan said...

His problem was linking the comments to a fictitious character.

Quayle said...

There's a difference between saying it will be hard and it's simply wrong.

Not in my world view.

I've come to believe that what is 'wrong' is exactly what is hard and therefore painful.

And the more devastatingly hard and painful it is (or runs the risk of being) the more 'wrong' it is.

But we should always be kind in these discussions, because there isn't one person that isn't 'wrong' in some way in their lives.

We're all trying to find figure it out and find our way.

Jay said...
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Jay said...

There's a difference between saying it will be hard and it's simply wrong.

It is wrong. It goes against every bit of accumulated wisdom from over 2,000 years of recorded human history.

And, single mom-dom gets us useless social programs that will never go away, memes such as "wars" on women, generations of welfare recipients, and Presidents like Barack Obama.

gerry said...

So it's morally right?

And so,consequentially, it's morally wrong to say it's morally wrong?

And in removing a moral consideration, does one become responsible for fostering a belief system that results in fatherless boy murdering each other and families in a cycle of perpertual poverty?

Fashionable moral relativity is much less informed about consequences than ancient wisdom, perhaps?

Jay said...

I question whether it's the single parent per se that's the problem

Ok, but if you want to see a kid grow up more likely to:

-Go to jail
-Not finish high school
-Not attend college

Put him with a single mom. And studies confirm this even accounting for race & educational level.

stan said...

Quayle was vilified because the liberals and the news media wanted to vilify him -- he's a conservative Republican. So let's start from the correct starting point.

Don't parse his words to the Nth degree. He was correct in moral terms. Didn't matter one bit to the libs who tore him a new one.

ricpic said...

With so many nice people minds, like Althouse, nitpicking Quayle while willfully ignoring the fact that all their sophisticated equivocations about the relative quality of single parent households are only made possible by the state as provider there is no hope...other than collapse of the whole obscene monstrosity. May that day come soon.

Chase said...

Madison Man - that is ridiculous and the leftist meme that still survives.

Jay is correct.

The quote you cite Professor is 100% correct and compassionate. you are making much ado about nothing here and playing the gender card and you are dead wrong in doing so.

Wish i had time to write but I am headed to 3 services. This one boils me with the constant mischaracterization of what that speech said and what it means. Even Bill Clinton said it good things about that speech.

I expect better reasoning from you Professor. Ad hominem does not become you.

Arrrrrrgh! have to leave . . . .

m stone said...

Murphy was actually a "composite" character and the remark was eerily prescient, given history.

Jay said...

he characterized the kind of woman that we'd presume to be responsible

Forgive me, but having a child out of wedlock is not "responsible" and that "kind of woman" is what Jessica Valenti and her ilk grow up to be.

Mitchell said...

John Stuart Mill was no TV scriptwriter.

Palladian said...

My father is a paranoid schizophrenic who left when I was 2. My mother raised me while working in a clothing factory. The only time we were ever on public assistance was when I had to have my hip replaced when I was 13 and my mother had to take unpaid leave to care for me for a couple of months. I later attended an ivy-league university.

Dan Quayle chose to polarize his comments by setting them in moral terms. Dan Quayle can go fuck himself.

Dante said...

As Ann Coulter points out: "A 1990 study by the (liberal) Progressive Policy Institute showed that, after controlling for single motherhood, the difference in black and white crime rates disappeared."

So perhaps the right way of putting in the caveat Ann Althouse wants about good single parents could go something like this:

"As with Manson followers, not ALL of his followers became mass murders, only some, so simply because the statistics for single parenthood are atrocious, and causing societal decay, additional costs to society, does not mean you can't raise a well adjusted child."

kcom said...

Palladian, how is anything you said in contradiction to this? On any point?

"Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong... Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong. We must be unequivocal about this. It doesn’t help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice."

dreams said...

I agree with Dan Quayle. Studies have shown over and over that two parent families are best for children.

Debbie Symanovich said...

The emphasis should be on the word "irresponsibly."

What would the responsible choice have been? Not getting pregnant, or if that already passed, then having the child and giving that child up for adoption, to a couple who is prepared, emotionally and financially, to raise that child in a two-parent home.

Murphy Brown did mock the traditional choices. The show set out to make single motherhood the "hip" choice. Hence the outrage.

Uncle Frank said...

I went back and read the Quayle speech, and I forgot that he gave it in response to the LA riots.

But I disagree with AA that the speech is provocative towards women. In fact, before he gets to the Murphy Brown remarks, he’s critical of males who abandon the children they father.

Madison Man, your comment reminds me of a friend, who when we talked about this event 20 years ago, mocked the speech because it criticized a fictional character. When I restated Quayle’s broader point, he responded that Quayle should have said that. When I told him he did, he didn’t believe it. I’m sure the reason he didn’t believe it is because he didn’t read the speech—he read the reports of the speech by people who wanted another reason to bash Dan Quayle.

And for the record, Quayle now stands as our third dumbest VP ever, with Gore #2 and Biden with a hopefully-eternal position in first place.

Erika said...

Horrifying to me that we've devolved to the point where actually we have to argue that having a parent of each gender, committed for life to each other and the children, is and ought to be the default setting for a family.

I was raised dirt-poor by a single divorced mother with various temporary father figures coming in and out. At one point my mother even took me out of the country for an extended period, during which time I had no contact with my father.

As so often happens, my sister and I were molested by men or their teenage sons who were living in our home and should never have had access to us in the first place. As so often happens, we both grew into teenagers so desperate to be validated by men that we engaged in very risky sexual behaviors (my 16th summer was spent having unprotected sex with an army officer ten years my senior). As so often happens, our brother grew into an angry, misogynistic, dysfunctional young man who served a couple of tours in the military but is now unemployable because of his lengthy history of alcoholism and arrests. The smartest thing he ever did--and wrap your mind around how sad this is--was convince a Navy doctor to give him a vasectomy at age 25.

I, for one, am sick to death of hearing from "tolerant" liberals who will twist themselves into pretzels trying to pretend that this celebration of families coming "in all shapes and sizes" is anything than a desire for validation that they want to do whatever the fuck they want, whenever the fuck they want, for any fucking reason. Because maybe upper middle class thinking people with lots of money, connections and education can kind-of-sort-of have halfway functional kids if they deviate from the norm, but those who are not so lucky wind up having generation after generation of broken kids with little ability to recognize or carry out decent lives.

AJ Lynch said...

That President Obama has never spoken out about out of wedlock births especially in the black community tells me he has no balls or principles.

Bruce Hayden said...

There's a difference between saying it will be hard and it's simply wrong.

But, it is wrong. Not from a moral/religious point of view, but because many, if not most, of the women intentionally bringing kids into this world in this country without their fathers are throwing them into life long poverty, violence, and more illegitimacy, and a lot of drug and alcohol use too. It isn't an accident that almost all male felons in prison these days came from fatherless families.

What Murphy Brown, et al. missed or forgot was that males do have their place in society, and that pushing them out of their place, causes significant harm to society in the long run. On the one hand, when properly directed, they make most of the inventions, build most of the biggest companies, and most of the money. On the other hand, when misdirected, they cause most of the violence in society.

Marriage and child rearing is what turns males from juveniles running in violent packs preying on society and those weaker to going to work every day to support their kids, and as a result, making those inventions, building those companies, etc. Combine this with the reality that it takes involved older males, and best their fathers, to civilize young juvenile males. Many, if not most, women seem incapable of providing the structure and consequences that adolescent males need to properly civilize, and instead think that just being their friend is sufficient. It most often isn't.

And, then you get into the social contract side of the debate. Is it really fair for a woman to have kids when both the women and the kids are going to cost society more than they are worth? All that safety net that we have in place? Much of it is dedicated to allowing these women to procreate without consequence. They can have kids because the rest of us are going to pick up the tab.

So, no, Ann, it is also wrong. Intentionally bringing kids into this world without two parents is wrong for society and wrong for the kids. But, yes, a lot of women would rather that society pay for their desire to be mothers than having to deal with husbands, even if it means that their kids are likely to end up in prison, etc. and that their decision will be paid for by the rest of us. That doesn't make it right, just understandable.

edutcher said...
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edutcher said...

Jay, of course, is right and it's the lesson not only of 5000 years of recorded history, but all cultures in what would appear to be all times.

And what the Veep said wasn't controversial to any thinking individual. It was that the media had set him up as being dumb, in much the same way as they like to see Miss Sarah, that it gave the Lefties the excuse to rail against him when irresponsible sex had been the purpose of the exercise since the days of "If it feels good, do it".

Palladian said...

My father is a paranoid schizophrenic who left when I was 2. My mother raised me while working in a clothing factory. The only time we were ever on public assistance was when I had to have my hip replaced when I was 13 and my mother had to take unpaid leave to care for me for a couple of months.

Palladian might be surprised to learn he and I have more in common than he might imagine, but just because his mother and mine were exceptions doesn't mean making it a rule is a good idea.

Quayle was right. All you have to do is remember that all those teenagers who want to keep up with the Kardashians, including the sex and the out-of-wedlock births, forget the Kardashians have all kinds of money to defray the cost.kinds of money

Dante said...

Erika, I too grew up without a father figure (Dad spent all his time at work), and while I wasn't molested, do know the pain of such things. I remember desperately wanting a father as I grew up, though I didn't have the kind of BS you had.

It's odd to me how the "Rainbow" crowd is so willing to toss the most intimate form of diversity, a father and a mother, under the bus for such things as "single parenthood" and "gay marriage" raising kids.

EDH said...

The morality component of Qualye's remarks applies to "bearing babies irresponsibly" and "failing to support children one has fathered".

The remainder was a criticism of the cultural overlay portrayed by the media.

Sawhill "agrees" with with Qualye on the cultural side because, on the economic side, she see's no policy alternative to continuing to subsidize (ergo, incentivise) the very behavior that her research suggests leads to poor outcomes.

Stronger public support for single-parent families — such as subsidies or tax credits for child care, and the earned-income tax credit — is needed, but no government program is likely to reduce child poverty as much as bringing back marriage as the preferable way of raising children.

The government has a limited role to play. It can support local programs and nonprofit organizations working to reduce early, unwed childbearing through teen-pregnancy prevention efforts, family planning, greater opportunities for disadvantaged youth or programs to encourage responsible relationships.

But in the end, Dan Quayle was right. Unless the media, parents and other influential leaders celebrate marriage as the best environment for raising children, the new trend — bringing up baby alone — may be irreversible.

t-man said...

I know you probably hate Dan Quayle for a host of reasons, Palladian, but your story has nothing to do with the "Murphy Brown" problem, and you know it.

No one is saying that there are no good, often heroic, single mothers. No one is denying that there are horrible, two-parent (mother and father) households. We are talking about aggregated effects here, and many people who think that single parenthood (or divorce) will not adversely affect their kids are deluding themselves and damaging society.

Rick said...

I agree with Jay. We are constantly battered by the media and intellectuals to think that single parents are just great. This is part of the reason for our decline.

Quayle said...

Because maybe upper middle class thinking people with lots of money

Dead on!

Money is the great problem-smooth-over-er.

Things get stressful? Let's go on vacation and sit by a pool.

Things get painful? Let's go shopping.

Family members want time apart? Set every faction up in their own place.

Which is why it is pure evil for the rich upper-west-siders to espouse a lifestyle that only they and their kind can fake pulling off, while the poor who follow along are utterly wasted.

"What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?"

buster said...

Palladian @ 9:04:

There are always exceptional cases. Sometimes it is better, all things considered, for a marriage with children to end. ( Sometimes that means ought not to have married to begin with and sometimes not.). Your parents' marriage seems to be one of those.

There are also exceptional sIngle parents who do a much better job raising children alone than most single parents. That doesn't make Quale wrong.

As for your objection that Quale spoke in terms of morality, I don't understand what you mean. The obligations of parents to their children are moral obligations, and social practices that systematI ally harm children are immoral. That doesn't mean your mother is immoral. She didn't choose to have a child out of wedlock.

Bruce Hayden said...

I went back and read the Quayle speech, and I forgot that he gave it in response to the LA riots...In fact, before he gets to the Murphy Brown remarks, he’s critical of males who abandon the children they father.

I think that that is one of the things that has to be kept in mind with this debate - a large part of our violence problem is a direct result of women raising kids without fathers, and fathers failing to take responsibility for their offspring.

When not properly civilized, males in their mid teens through probably mid to late twenties tend to run in "juvenile" gangs, that use violence to prey on society.

The other part to this is that males are civilized by learning consequences. And, they do this preferably by having their families impose such as they grow up. But, women are not, as a rule, good at this. Besides, it is male approval that they really need, and not female approval, as they find their place in male society. If they don't find their limits imposed by their families, and esp. by the males in such, that leaves society imposing the rules and consequences, and that means the police and the criminal justice system. But, that is usually a lot less direct, and often ends up with the young males ending up in prison.

So, how have things changed since then? I would suggest that this level of violence is even more embedded in our underclasses than when DQ was talking about the LA riots. The males act violently, preying esp. on their own, until they end up dead or in prison, and the women give birth to the next generation of violent felons, paid for by our generosity, and seeded by the generation that is dying and is languishing in prison.

buster said...

I meant Quayle.

Quayle said...

My mother raised me while working in a clothing factory. The only time we were ever on public assistance was when I had to have my hip replaced when I was 13 and my mother had to take unpaid leave to care for me for a couple of months. I later attended an ivy-league university.

I am convinced that the story behind the single-motherhood or single-fatherhood is critical to how the children feel.

Frivolity causing the child pain is, I would argue, the devastating component.

Real need is not, and to my experience seems to infuse the child with and admirable seriousness and maturity that serves them later in life.

danoso said...

IIRC, the baby showed up in at most two episodes after the blessed event. Apparently the darling little whelp didn't fit the professional women's lifestyle. Imagine that.

JHapp said...

If a woman just can't get that magical relationship others do but is sure she is not one of those irresponsible/disagreeable/poorly skilled kind of persons she is probably one of those irresponsible/disagreeable/poorly skilled kind of persons.

David said...

Typical Quayle--a little bit of truth obscured by a fog of moralistic rhetoric. Emphasized by the fact that he looked the part of an overblown twit.

David said...

Murphy Brown was a TV show. The baby was a marketing ploy. The whole effort was a smug as Dan Quayle.

Richard Dolan said...

"He phrased it in a way that was either deliberately or unwittingly provocative."

Ha. Everyone is going on about Quayle but the real joke here is elsewhere. All you need is a mirror. Doesn't it strike you as a bit bizarre for Ann Althouse, Queen of the Vortex and Mistress of Blogland, to focus her gripe about Qualyle on the idea that he phrased his critique to be "provacative,. The comment threads on ths blog are often one loing exercise in trying to up he ante in snarky provactaiveness. And that's what was wrong with Qualyle's quip ?(!).

Oh, brother (oh, sister?). The real point of this post is that Qualye was a blogger before his time -- prophet manque, awaiting only the invention by Al Gore of the medium that might have let his true genius shine.

Michael said...

Couple things (three, actually):

1) Something does not have to be wrong in every case to be wrong statistically. Of course there are counterexamples, and circumstances matter, but all evidence is that two-parent families do better in general.

2) What works for Murphy Brown (or Candice Bergen), who has the resources to deal with any difficulties, may not work for someone who does not have them, and being glib about the situation does send a wrong message.

3) The whole episode reflected the NY Times/NPR view of the world, which is that whatever affluent, educated urban women want for themselves must necessarily be right for everyone. 'Taint so.

Hagar said...

I have never understood why Candice Bergen agreed to portay such a character as Murphy Brown.

edutcher said...

As a point of clarity, my parents were married, but a single parent family is still a single parent family regardless of how it happened.

Jay said...

Quayle said...


Dead on!

Money is the great problem-smooth-over-er.


Yep. Look how it worked out for the Kennedy's. I mean, they are models of responsible father's and husbands.

Jay said...

and correlations between being such a child and having a worse outcome in life.

These are not "correlations" at all.

There is a clear causation and pretending otherwise is silly.

The Crack Emcee said...

Quayle took some gratuitous shots at women in his notorious remark,...

Where's it written you can't do that? That it's wrong? That women are some protected species against criticism?

Judge an argument on it's merits - not on whether or not you got your widdle feewings hurt,...

MadisonMan,

His problem was linking the comments to a fictitious character.

Yeah, like Joe Biden calling Will & Grace "the best argument for gay marriage"?

That should be a loser every time,...

Bender said...

There's a difference between saying it will be hard and it's simply wrong.

One is utilitarian relativistic nonsense and the other takes into consideration the truth of the human person as being made for love, which includes doing what is best for the child, and not merely doing what one selfishly wants for herself.

The Crack Emcee said...

Erika wins the thread.

RigelDog said...

Ann is right in that Quayle went too far in attributing certain motivations to the fictional character. As I recall, Murphy had a brief reconciliation with her husband, was shocked to get pregnant, and chose to have the child instead of aborting. She was not making a frivolous lifestyle choice.

However, there is a value to children being raised by both their father and their mother. There is such as thing as "fathering" a child that does not begin and end with sperm donation. Individual cases will vary, but in viewing society as a whole it is a disaster to de-couple marriage and fatherhood from child-bearing. I was raised by a single mother who was a responsible and caring person, but growing up without a father made me determined to marry only the finest kind. My husband is irreplacable as our children's father, just as I bring something unique in mothering them.

Mike Smith said...

It is wrong; Quayle was right.

Every study I have ever seen (and I've made it a point to seek them out) show that children from an intact traditional family do better than children in other circumstances.

We OWE it to the children we bear to give them the best possible chance in life.

jrberg3 said...

Surprising that no one has juxtaposed Quayle's comments with Obama's ridiculous "Julia" character.

DADvocate said...

I see nothing wrong with what Quayle said. The statistics are quite clear about father absence. You invent a "irresponsible/disagreeable/poorly skilled kind of person" strawman to bolster your argument. The statistics are quite clear.

To intentionally not give your children the best possible start on life is wrong. It's a human right to know and have a meaningful relationship with both your parents. But, for the spoiled boomers and the following generations, it's all about them and what they want. The kids will "adapt."

johnnymcguirk said...

Judge not, that ye be not judged. Matthew 7:1

Larry J said...

And, single mom-dom gets us useless social programs that will never go away, memes such as "wars" on women, generations of welfare recipients, and Presidents like Barack Obama.

It gets us a nation of "Julias" who see the government as a surrogate husband. Should their children be boys, they'll grow up without learning what it is to be a man (which can only be taught by other men). Should they be daughters, they'll grow up to be Julia, too.

Laura said...

Where's the article on the impact of increasing single motherhood on the prevailing wages of childcare workers? Aggregate, not outliers.

Interesting, while educated women are moving out, men are moving into women's fields: http://open.salon.com/blog/cedar_burnett/2012/03/15/are_educated_women_quitting_the_workforce_or_reinventing_it.

In the good news, debtor's prisons have become a thing of the past, (just not ghettos): http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2012/05/cheaper_student_loansa_bad_idea_whose_time_has_come.html.

Was it just me or did anyone else need a companion guide for the fashion references in The Nanny Diaries? Suave shampoo still leaves a funny residue (luxuries of the stay-at-home mom).

wv: dustou baraque?

Brent said...

To those who ridiculed the proven superiority to society of two-parent households:

Vaccinations for children result in a thousand deaths/disabilities a year due to reactions to the vaccination (this is not about the autism controversy - let's leave that out for the sake of the illustration).

Society -and our government - strongly encourage vaccinating against devastating diseases - and they should. There are exceptions to getting the disease in some children who do not get vaccinated, and there are many reasons parents may choose to not. But the exceptions do not change the incredible and beneficial societal reasons for encouraging vaccinations.

There are certainly exceptions to two-parent, mom and dad households. But the jury is in - the science is sure. The highest benefits to society - and each individual child - are in encouraging the 2 parent mom and dad household.

Comanche Voter said...

What it gets us is "Julia".

And it was ridiculed because it came from Quayle who, like any conservative sort, gets mocked by liberals "because he's a moron".

Too soon snarky, too late smart is the credo of progressives.

Chip S. said...

Ann Althouse said...
Some single-parent families are better than others and some mother-and-father families are worse than others.

It would be pretty astonishing if this were not so. The fact that the two distributions of outcomes have overlapping regions hardly shows that the outcomes are the same on average. Anecdotes are not evidence.

I question whether it's the single parent per se that's the problem — where it can be shown that it's worse — or whether more women who get into the single-parent position are the irresponsible/disagreeable/poorly skilled kind of person.

You really think fathers don't matter? There seems to be plenty of evidence that they do. And people in the field are quite aware of the point you raise, and deal with it reasonably well.

And it seems clear to me that anyone pushing the counterintuitive view that one person is as effective as two people in raising children bears the burden of proof--not the other way around, as you have tried to put it.

Penny said...

I was so angry when I heard about this Murphy Brown story line that my head blew off!

Which of course made it impossible to hit my head against the wall over this Dan Quayle speech.

Moral: Don't lose your head.

edutcher said...
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CWJ said...

Althouse said ...

"...he could just as easily have put his main point in a way that nearly everyone would agree with."

Is that believable? I doubt he could have said anything ever that wouldn't have been mocked in some fashion by the MSM.

edutcher said...

johnnymcguirk said...

Judge not, that ye be not judged. Matthew 7:1

One of Uncle Saul's dimmer bulbs.

Given the fact we have overwhelming data on the likelihood that any child born in such a circumstance will have a rough life, the reason why such women were ostracized is hard only for a Lefty to see. For every one so judged, how many were saved? The old business not so much of conscience, but social approbation, making cowards of us all is what worked here and it worked pretty well for millenia.

When it becomes so hard for so many that the odds are all but overwhelming, the morality is clear. And, yeah, the Lefties who have charted the social goals see it, but that's what's building the Welfare State.

PS As to the way Quayle put it, as my mom always said, "The devil hates a coward".

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

Where in his two sentences did Quayle take "gratuitous shots" at women?

I did not see the controversy when he made what you lamely refer to as "notorious remarks" and I don't see it now. It takes a man and a women to create a life. Why is it controversial to suggest that both the man and the woman have a personal responsibility to care for the life that they bring into the world?

His remarks were only "notorious" because radical feminists irresponsibly made them so.

Matthew Sablan said...

"He phrased it in a way that's either deliberately or unwittingly provocative."

It's Quayle, I'll Occam's Razor and go with unwitting. Also, why does the word verification have an e with an accent? That's just silly.

Matthew Sablan said...

"His problem was linking the comments to a fictitious character."

-- It is a running theme for Vice Presidents, I think, with Biden referencing Will and Grace. Now, I just need to find a speech by Gore where he talks about Step by Step and where Cheney talks about how Urkel inspired him and I will have the material I need for my next book: "Second Bananas Going Crazy: Awkward Uses of Pop Culture to Appear Cool and Hip."

chickelit said...

And it seems clear to me that anyone pushing the counterintuitive view that one person is as effective as two people in raising children bears the burden of proof--not the other way around, as you have tried to put it.

In the leftosphere, "burden of proof" is never on the challenger. That's partly why they are illegitimate.

John Lynch said...

Children with single fathers do about as well as children from intact families, as far as avoiding teen pregnancy, finishing high school, and staying out of trouble.

Although people are now acknowledging that sons need fathers (and criticizing men for abandoning a marriage is perfectly OK), the worst family arrangement for daughters seems to be having a single mother. Fathers may be more important than mothers, at least as far showing how to act like an adult, for raising men and women.

This is research that's been around for decades that no one talks about.

Dan Quayle made us talk about it. If he'd made the point in a non-offensive way with which everyone agreed no one would have noticed.

John Lynch said...

I think the problem now is that so many people either are single parents or were raised by one that to attack single parenthood is personal for too many people. It's the same way with divorce. We passed a tipping point a while ago. Too many people would have to admit that they were wrong.

jimbino said...

Guy meets Girl in a bar and they soon discover that they have a common interest in producing widgets. So they go off together for a weekend at the beach and spend the whole time discussing widgets.

When they get back, they decide to partner and throw themselves fully into the production of widgets. They soon discover, however, that an accidental byproduct of widget production is mercury, an element necessary in industry but destructive and potentially fatal in the wrong hands. Wary of the responsibility, Guy decides he wants nothing more to do with widget production under the circumstances and seeks to dissolve the enterprise. Girl disagrees and insists on maintaining it in spite of his strenuous objections.

This impasse leads them to dissolve their partnership, but they agree to terms: Guy gives up his entire interest in the enterprise and Girl assumes full responsibility for its success or failure and they go their separate ways.

Some months later, it appears that, while the production of widgets has fallen by the wayside, there is still the problem of dealing with the mercury, the maintenance and security of which is now beyond the capacity of Girl. Simply disposing of the mercury would be illegal, and so, to avert a public nuisance situation, and thinking that with enough money the mercury could be turned into gold, the government steps in to “help.” Does it rely on the taxpayer to rescue the situation? Yes, in part. Does it sanction, fine, tax or imprison Girl, whose insistence on continuing the enterprise directly led to the creation of the public nuisance? No, instead it sends her monthly checks from the taxpayers’ account and extends to her all kinds of discounts and privileges.

Also, it turns out, Guy’s rational decision to close down problematic enterprise had long been determined to be against public policy, making the earlier agreement between Guy and Girl null and void. So the government forces Guy to give up 33% of his earnings for 22 years to subsidize the maintenance of the enterprise, from which he derives little or no benefit. If Guy fails to meet a couple of monthly payments, he is sent to prison.

Meanwhile, the government offers to increase Girl’s taxpayer support, her discounts and privileges, if she repeats the endeavor, even while in her weakened financial condition, with a new partner, which beggars belief.

Strange as it seems, under the law, Girl always had the opportunity from the beginning to close down the enterprise, even if it had been highly promising and there had been no threat whatsoever of public nuisance, without Guy’s consent, without the consent of the government, and without even informing either in advance or answering for her actions afterward.

MadisonMan said...

Chase, if you frame an argument so that the first thing people can reply is unrelated to your point, you will not make your case.

Quayle: Unwed mothers, such as Murphy Brown, as a problem.

Reaction: You do realize, don't you, that Murphy Brown is a fictitious character.

You have just lost your talking point.

If Quayle was arguing that society had degenerated so far that Unwed mothers were the norm, and as an object of that, witness this Murphy Brown character on TV, then he's a little too horse-out-the-barn-door on this topic.

edutcher said...

jimbino forgets that Guy quite often doesn't pay enough to keep the widget going properly, so it matures in relative poverty, and that said widget has a very bad example of how to conduct its life when it matures and so will probably make the same stupid mistakes its parents (and undoubtedly jimbino's) made, thus inflicting a life of poverty on its widgets.

Also Girl, having used bad judgment in selecting Guy, will try to find a replacement using the same criteria because she has no clue what she really needs or wants, largely because she has been raised in an atmosphere when there are no consequences to one's bad decisions at the societal, and therefore governmental, level, thus perpetuating her misery, as well.

But jimbino thinks this is all swell since he hates Amerika and loves the way they do it in all those swinging, sexy Euro countries where 87 year old twins need to work as hookers because the continent is going broke.

t-man said...

To combine the "fictional charachter" theme with the "single father households are okay for girls" post -

Just look at all of those self-empowered Disney charachters who had lost their mothers.

PatCA said...

I don't fault Quayle for saying it's wrong. If he had said it would be hard, no one would have listened, because the dual messages of "you can be anything you want" and "you can have a child whenever you want" has resulted in an underclass as damaged as Charles Murray describes.

I know a couple of Murphy Brown types who had children on their own, without fathers, and the hunger for a father in these kids is palpable. How that affects them later is unknown but nothing can make up for it.

So yeah, I would stick with "wrong" unless you're adopting someone already born.

William said...

People used to disapprove of unwed mothers, and, as a result, there were fewer out of wedlock children. Dan Quayle received far more social opprobium for his comments than any unwed mother with the poosible exception of Octomom. The take away message of the Murphy Brown-Dan Quayle fracas: single motherhood is good and criticism of single mothers is bad......I'd feel like a creep criticizing any particular single mother. She's in a vulnerable and sympathetic condition. Nonetheless single motherhood is a social pathology.....In other days, smoking was a character trait of the hero. He inhaled deeply and said brave, romantic things. Nowadays, smoking is shown as a character flaw of the neurotic loser. He inhales deeply before saying something stupid. As a result of all this, there are now less smokers.....If single mothers were shown as negligent and stupid on the screen, perhaps there would be fewer single mothers.....It'll never happen, of course.

Uncle Frank said...

Madison Man, "if you frame an argument so that the first thing people can reply is unrelated to your point," then you will have proven two points: one, that the people making unrelated arguments are disingenuous, and, two, that your argument is likely correct.

William said...

I feel obliged to add that, despite growing up in a two parent household, I have far more neuroses than the child of the average crack whore.

Dr Weevil said...

I wish I could find the article I read years ago that made a big impression on me, and may help deepen the discussion.

Anyway, as I recall (and I read it more than once), a sociological study analyzed four kinds of families with children: those with two parents in the residence (we'll call them '2P'), those with a single divorced mother raising the kids alone ('D'), those where a widowed mother was raising her kids alone ('W'), and those where the mother had remarried and was raising the kids with a stepfather ('SD').

No one will be surprised to hear that the D kids had much higher rates of drug use, underage drinking, failing grades in school, clinical depression, and criminal records than the 2P kids. Some had argued that it was all or mostly from lack of money: D families are (on the average) much poorer than 2P families, and poverty encourages dysfunction.

However (as I recall), when you look at the other two groups, you find that the SD families had as much money (on the average) as the 2P families, but were just as screwed up as the D families. Even more surprisingly, the W families were as poor as the D families, but as unscrewed-up as the 2P families. Apparently, telling your child "daddy can't come to your birthday party / parent-teacher conference / high school graduation because he's dead" isn't anywhere near as devastating as telling your child "daddy can't come because he's got a new family in another state". So apparently it's not the single mom per se that causes family dysfunction, it's the absent (without being dead) dad, which is not always the same thing.

I wish I could find the article. I think it was in The Public Interest, though it may be "Poor Suffering Bastards" in Policy Review Spring 1994. The latter is not on the web in full, and I don't know which of the forty years worth of Public Interests on the web to look in (they're here). It's well worth a read if it can be found.

Jerome said...

The Left wishes to live in a world in which people care as much about each other as family members do. The biological fact is that we do not live in such a world. But Leftism, like feminism, is in the business of denying biology.

This denial takes two forms. They deny the importance of the family, and particularly of fathers. And they seek to replace the individual's attachment to his family with an attachment to the State (see Life of Julia). Basically, the Left State is jealous of your family, because you love it the way he wants you to love him.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You know what is really hard and really right?

Getting married, staying married, cultivating a respectful and loving lifetime relationship with your spouse. Working your way through the problems. Compromising in a give and take situation. Realizing that you can't have it all or all of it YOUR way. Supporting each other and protecting each other as a team. Wedded to each other for better or for worse.

Sacrificing your personal short term desires and wants for the sake of raising your children. Ensuring your children a stable, safe, nurturing, loving home so that they can grow up with all the potential of doing the same for their own children.

Relying on each other and family and NOT relying on the coerced funds from strangers to support your solitary, self indulgent lifestyle. NOT using government to let you live an abnormal life as a single, alone, distracted parent raising a child bereft of both a mother and a father.

THIS is hard and it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Michael K said...

"
Dan Quayle chose to polarize his comments by setting them in moral terms. Dan Quayle can go fuck himself."

So, because your father left for medical reasons, those who ;eave, or women who choose to have children alone, are doing the moral thing. I think you need some remedial common sense.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

two parent families are best for children

To be fair, there are times, many times, when this isn't always the case. As in Palladian's example or even my own first marriage to a manic depressive alcoholic. (I'm since remarried and we are celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary tomorrow...21 yrs if you count the dating time)

There are times when, sorrowfully, the marriage doesn't work and it is better to not be in a two parent situation.

This should be the exception and not a purposeful lifestyle choice as pointed out by Quayle. More and more we see women clearly stating that they don't 'need' to be married to have children and choosing to raise their child alone and without a father. This is the morally wrong part.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between hard and wrong. Intentionally having children out of wedlock is both. Every measure of social pathology is increased in children from single parent homes. Children are far more likely to be sexually molested in single parent homes. Children are more likely to be poor in single parent homes. At the very least, children are much more likely to be battered by the forces of chaos, stress, and social insecurity when there is one adult (not two) between them and the entropy of the wider world...

johnnymcguirk said...

Never having seen the show, as I understand it: It's the story of an affluent, unmarried, childless, middle aged woman who chooses to have a baby while she still can. I've known a few women who've made the same, difficult choice, and I know people, not unlike some commenters here, who condemn these spinster mothers. I know whose side I'm on.

Dr Weevil said...

Too bad we don't know whose side you're on, johnnymcguirk. Maybe you should tell us.

wv: "and" - not a real solid barrier against machines impersonating commenters, I would think.

johnnymcguirk said...

The lady with the baby. Sorry, I thought that was implied.

Alex said...

The worst part was middle-aged Candice Bergen having a baby. Ewwwwww.

chickelit said...

We passed a tipping point a while ago. Too many people would have to admit that they were wrong.

So now the point is to rid the world of the rest of those bad old residual paradigms who make everybody else look bad?

somefeller said...

The Sawhill article is a little late. The cover story of The Atlantic Monthly (a journal that isn't known for its hard-right leanings) in April 1993 was called "Dan Quayle Was Right" and discussed this topic. I don't think you're going to find many people who will say that unwed motherhood (particularly among teenagers) is the ideal social situation.

kcom said...

"I know whose side I'm on."

Wow, way to share.

Jane said...

If Murphy Brown were a real woman, who got pregnant in the midst of a failed reconciliation with her husband, and ended up as a single mom, that would be one thing. But she was a fictional character -- and that means that this was, as far as it matters, a "planned pregnancy": the writers thought it would make a great storyline, without regard for the long-term impact of each additional cultural example of "children don't need fathers."

Paco Wové said...

"Judge not, that ye be not judged."

Theocrat.

Paco Wové said...

"If Quayle was arguing that society had degenerated so far that Unwed mothers were the norm, and as an object of that, witness this Murphy Brown character on TV, then he's a little too horse-out-the-barn-door on this topic."

There's a statute of limitations on complaints about social pathologies? "You can't complain about X -- it's been going on for years!"

I had no idea.

Quaestor said...

There's a difference between saying it will be hard and it's simply wrong.
You’ve made the same error as the Murphy Brown character (and Candice Bergen who closely identified with her television creation). You evidently assume the difficulties of raising a child as a single mother are born by that mother, who has volunteered to bear them, when in fact the chief bearer of the difficulties, the one whose life will be unalterably shaped by the mother’s decision is the child. When the consequences of one’s choice affect others who are not party to that choice the question become a matter of ethics. Thus the “Murphy Brown option” is not a morally void lifestyle choice.

sleepless nights said...

When you find yourself spending your Sunday Morning on a Holiday Weekend concerned that

" Quayle was saying that the TV character provided women with a role model and might have fooled us into thinking raising a child alone would be easier than it is, but he was focused on getting out a rival moral message. Murphy Brown is telling you it's fine, but I need you to know it's wrong. There's a difference between saying it will be hard and it's simply wrong."


.... Drink!

Martha said...

Shorter version of the 12:41 pm DUST BUNNY comment is the version I used to say through clenched teeth during a time of difficult adjustment for me from the life of an independent professional woman to the life of marriage and parenthood: "We got married to have children and now we are staying married because we have a child!"

Once a couple has a child, the commitment to that child must supersede everything else if you want to maximize your child's potential-- IMHO that is the parent's moral obligation.

Bender said...

two parent families are best for children
To be fair, there are times, many times, when this isn't always the case. As in Palladian's example or even my own first marriage to a manic depressive alcoholic


Sorry, DBQ, it IS always the case that two parent families are best for children (in addition to the child having a fundamental intrinsic right to be raised by a mother and a father).

What is not always best is for one or both parents to be jerks who desert the family, or who have mental health issues, etc. In those cases, what is best is not that the child be denied a parent, rather, what is best is that such parent stop being a jerk and stop deserting the family and get treated for mental health issues.

A child has a fundamental right to a good and decent parent and if the parent cannot be, or will not be, good and decent, then that is NOT the child's fault -- it is the parent's fault and it is the parent who is obligated to correct the situation and not merely abandon the child.

Saint Croix said...

Most single moms are single moms because they don't want to have an abortion, and the father abandoned them.

The basic argument against being a single mom is that you'll be poor.

Abortion is the yuppie choice. Do it for your career. Make some money. Don't think about that baby you stepped on.

I applaud the single moms. They take the hard path. It's almost a holy thing, to keep a baby out of love, knowing you're going to be poor.

Hagar said...

It was not just a case of Murphy Brown becoming a single mother. There was a lot of bad jokes, unsuitable language, and negative behavior going with it.

In context, Dan Quayle was right, and the MSM knew it; hence the howls of outrage.

James A. Donald said...

Women who choose to have fatherless children, or who willfully and frivolously render their children fatherless, are evil, immoral, and deserve punishment.

When someone wishes to depict evil, they don't show the evil overlord slaying his enemies, but harming those close to himself for frivolous reasons. The closer, the greater the evil, which is why Snow White's wicked stepmother is the exemplar of evil, what is used to define "evil" for small children.

A women choosing to bear a child alone is greatly harming those who are as close as they can be, thus is as evil as can be.

sleepless nights said...

Hmm. My mother had a difficult marriage. It was a happy day for me when my mother got divorced. Consequently, I thought about having a kid w/o marriage, but frankly just couldn't *afford* to give it serious consideration. If I'd been an heiress or a pop star or some other unrealistic situation in which you have a TON of money in your 20s, then maybe.

However, whenever I felt positive enough about life and the future to want to have kids, I also then felt positive enough about the human endeavor to demand a father. Make sense? It was like a built in safeguard got triggered. If I was not feeling good about life and/or the chances of finding a husband/father, then I certainly didn't want to pass it on to another generation.

I don't know how these women do it - even with public assistance. In my case public assistance was out of the question. To knowingly condemn your kid to a welfare existence with foresight - errr. No.

Having said all that, I'm an overthinker. Without a certain degree of pure stupidity and thoughtlessness on the part of one gender or the other, the human race would never reproduce in anywhere near replacement levels.

Saint Croix said...

In Murphy Brown's case, a middle-aged woman having a baby without a father is the yuppie choice. The point is that career always comes first. Baby is an afterthought. Love is irrelevant. Fathers are unncessary. Sacrifice is unheard of. Schedule is everything. Yuppies are all about schedules and plans and how to maximize your finances. Babies are commodities. Dispose of them when you are young, then visit the fertility clinic when you are 40.

sleepless nights said...

@saint croix

Yes and no.

Example: Friend got pregnant in college. Kept the baby, father had to drop out of school. She had to drop out of university. 15 years later she still had one kid and was living with her parents. Both parents now on a menial labor career path.

Now...same situation with different friends. Friend got abortion, finished med school. Got married and now has three kids being raised in great circumstances.

Those three kids would not have been born if she had not gotten that earlier abortion. It's not a zero sum game, nor is it necessarily "just about money" in a spoiled, narcissistic, "I want to have lunch with my girlfriends and talk about shoes" Sex in the City way.

Saint Croix said...

A women choosing to bear a child alone is greatly harming those who are as close as they can be, thus is as evil as can be.

Sorry, this is retarded. Killing your baby is as evil as can be. Doing what you can to keep your baby healthy and alive is good.

Single mom is the natural state of the animal kingdom. If humanity wants to do better than animals, we have to protect the institution of marriage and fatherhood, which is biologically insecure.

But to say a single mom is the personifcation of evil, you're a fucking idiot. Seriously. Get out of the house and meet some single moms.

Saint Croix said...

And I wish people who like the 2-parent ideal--as do I--would not use rhetoric that pushes young girls towards the silent infanticide option that our friendly government says is a right thing to do.

Saint Croix said...

Those three kids would not have been born if she had not gotten that earlier abortion.

I hope you're not using that logic to design bridges.

Darleen said...

There is also a difference of finding oneself a single parent (death, divorce, etc) and one going out of one's way to create it (turkey baster)

All other things being equal, it is a CHILD's right to have first crack of being raised by a mom and dad married to each other.

It's akin to smoking. The vast majority of smokers do not die of lung cancer. But there is enough bad stuff to discourage the behavior.

sleepless nights said...

It's true.

Women with hard-earned foresight have more kids when the circumstances are optimal than when they are not.

Why is that a difficult concept for you?

Darleen said...

sleepless

15 years later she still had one kid and was living with her parents

Why didn't she go back to school when kid was 5?

Obviously, while the initial circumstances between your friends appears similar, the character of each was widely different.

I bet even if #2 didn't have the abortion, she would have finished med school.

William said...

Teen age girls are hot because Mother Nature wants them to have children. The upside of teen age motherhood is that whatever social and psychological deficits their children must face, those children face them with robust good health. Some here may feel that there's a downside to having a criminal class that's faster and stronger than the people on whom they prey, but I think that, in the end, such a criminal class encourages us all to stay fit and active....The downside to waiting for the right person and the right time to have children is that you will not be able to have children until you're in your forties or early fifties. Men have dented chromosomes and women have dehydrated ovaries at that age. There's a good chance your kids will look like Gilbert Gottfried if you wait for just the right time and just the right partner. You kids will need all the blessings of an intact two parent, two income household to overcome the stigma attached to their multiple birth defects.

Saint Croix said...

The summer of love started in 1968 because Ronald Reagan legalized abortion in California in 1968.

Legalized abortion led to an increase in promiscuity, a decrease in birth control, an increase in abortions and an increase in single moms.

If you want to reverse all those things, outlaw abortion. See what happens.

sleepless nights said...

No, she would not have, but leaving the realm of betting for a moment:

The greater point is that there are lines of probabilities involved here; arrays of choices leading to other possible choices that are fundamentally different than the ones available to a person at another time.

It is not simply either/or... as in "(1 abortion = sum of all people that exist - 1)."

This line of reasoning is simply wrong. The sum of all choices and actions is far more complex.

Darleen said...

sleepless

You were the one that first implied that it was abortion that made the positive difference that kept #2 from ending up the same way as #1.

I proposed that the abortion wasn't the significant factor.

Certainly all choices lead to different paths with a myriad of consequences. And generalities always have exceptions. However, the more evidence one can gather, the more credible the generality (which is never defined by the exceptions).

Erika said...

Sleepless nights, your friend couldn't have given that baby up for adoption and gone on to her happy medical career and three planned babies later?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What is not always best is for one or both parents to be jerks who desert the family, or who have mental health issues, etc. In those cases, what is best is not that the child be denied a parent, rather, what is best is that such parent stop being a jerk and stop deserting the family and get treated for mental health issues.

In a hypothetical ideal world, people can just stop being jerks, stop being mentally ill, abusive, being drug addicted and all sorts of other things that cause a marriage and family life to be a living Hell. Sure....just stop.

Some people can get help. Can stop. And everyone lives happily ever after.

Unfortunately, that is not the real world.

There are also gradations or a sliding scale of jerkdom etc. You can be mildly a jerk or beat your wife and children daily. You can be a recreational drinker who just embarrasses the family once in a while or a functioning maintenance alcoholic who has blackouts gets into fights and grabs your child out of bed to go on long drives on the freeway and wakes up a couple of days later in an unknown area with your hungry frightened to death child in the bed of the pickup truck (true stories).

Now we can say...just stop. Get help. And hope that Tinkerbell will throw some fairy dust on the situation.....or get the hell out of there and flee to a position of sanity and safety.

In some cases being a single parent, whether it be the female or male parent, it can be best for the children. At least they can go to bed and know that they will not wake up to chaos, fear and physical danger.

wyo sis said...

There are as many stories as there are people. The point that many here are trying to make is that children born to a committed couple one man and one woman have the most optimal chance to be raised to be healthy and capable contributors to the next generation.
This is not new and it's not changed by societal changes. It's as close to a fact as anything involving human beings can be. The greatest good for the greatest number of children is achieved by raising them in a traditional two parent of opposite sexes family.
Everything else is less optimal and the more it can be made to resemble the ideal the better. Family is the key and family is defined in a rather narrow traditional way.

DADvocate said...

Children with single fathers do about as well as children from intact families, as far as avoiding teen pregnancy, finishing high school, and staying out of trouble.

There's a wealth of information showing children with involved biological fathers do better.

Two examples.

Quaestor said...

The "notorious" Dan Quayle quote:
Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong... Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong. We must be unequivocal about this. It doesn't help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.

Ann's comment regarding same:
Quayle took some gratuitous shots at women in his notorious remark, and he could just as easily have put his main point in a way that nearly everyone would agree with. So, I dislike this simple declaration that he was right (which I've seen many times). He phrased it in a way that's either deliberately or unwittingly provocative.

"Quayle took some gratuitous shots at women..." I been seeing this turn of phrase gratuitous shot or a variant of same all my adult life. I don't know what it means. Judging from its usage the phrase seem to mean A has made a palpable rhetorical hit with statement X, to which B has no reposte, so B tries to change to the subject with the gratuitous shot claim, thus implying A is bad for stating X in the first place. Am I wrong? If so please enlighten me.

Now assuming there are one or more "gratuitous shots at women" in the Quayle quotation. Is not "failing to support children one has fathered is wrong" similarly gratuitous? (I know how the law is interpreted one this point, so don't wave that in my face. I say the law in antiquated and sexist. It assumes men have a higher moral capacity than women. If this is true why do we let women anywhere near the polls? If a woman has an equal moral capacity as a man, then her decision to conceive a child out of wedlock ought to absolve the biological father of any responsibility for the product of his sex act with the woman, since she can choose to use any number of birth control measures before the act, or she may choose abortion after the act. It's an unequal contract. The woman has many escape clauses in her favor, the man only one, which is to not enter into the contract in the first place.) If Quayle addressed gratuitous shots at both sexes, why concentrate on the shots against women?

"[He] could just as easily have put his main point in a way that nearly everyone would agree with. So, I dislike this simple declaration that he was right." Ann's conclusion does not follow logically from the claim that the point could have formed in such a way that everyone could agree with. Firstly, a point everyone can agree on is trivial. Quayle was not making a trivial point, it cuts to the heart of what a citizen can demand from the state, and what the state can demand of the citizen. Secondly, Ann reports she don't like the simple declaration Quayle was right. So what? Was Quayle only partly right? Which part is mistaken? I didn't see much of a rebuttal other than a rehash of the left's wounded yelps from 20 years ago -- Quayle's so mean and stupid, or words to that effect.

caplight45 said...

"Judge not" in Matthew 7:1 is better rendered, "Do not condemn." I have noticed that "judge not" seems to be the most popularly quoted scripture in the "you're not the boss of me" generations beginning with the Boomers.

Ronald Reagan liked to say, "The trouble with Liberals is they know so much that isn't so." that seems to apply in this case.

Paul said...

Quayle was right both to the fact it is harder to raise a kid by oneself and it was morally WRONG.

A child needs both parents for balance.

And as the years go by with more and more messed up kids, it will only get worse.

iowan2 said...

I thought the progressives loved, no, demanded diversity. Near as I can surmise, the reason is the diverse interactions are critical to any task. We need, A Black, and a women and a Hispanic so diversity can interpret the constitution. Somehow 3 black principals in a school district is not enough diversity, 5 is the constitutional minimum, because black kids only understand black principals. That the 15% of the student population that are Asian students dont get mandated diversity is a conundrum.

Why is it then that liberal don't want our children to be raised with diversity, one male, one female. Shouldn't that be the constitutional minimum?

For those that seek validation in science and studies. Surveys show that diversity of gender in child rearing produces results far superior to the fantastic results of forced diversity in other segments of society. If the Federal govt can force society to buy health insurance, it is obvious that they have the power to force gender diversity in child rearing.

setnaffa said...

Quayle was right. It is morally wrong to bear children irresponsibly. But some folks put their sexual urges ahead of anyone else.

How's that working out for them and the Nation?

wGraves said...

"I know Quayle was saying that the TV character provided women with a role model and might have fooled us into thinking raising a child alone would be easier than it is, but he was focused on getting out a rival moral message."

This statement asks me to accept the meme that raising a child is a labor. That if you work twice as hard, you will be as effective as a two-parent family. Nothing could be further than the truth. Two of you working on junior or juniorette, with very different perspecives, yields a much different result than a single person working twice as hard. Try making the baby along, and see how far you get.

Ralph L said...

My step-mother raised two sons largely on her own while becoming both an RN and a HS math teacher. They turned out as nice guys but have married 4 women as nutty and controlling as she is. She can't figure out why she doesn't get along with her d-i-l's.

sort of runic rhyme said...

First, love your child.

Second, love your child as its two needed and beloved parents.

Third, love your child whatever the parental circumstances.

Last, don't critique Quayle and date yourself.

comatus said...

Candice Bergen had an older, smarter brother. His name was Charlie McCarthy.

GraysonHill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

sleepless,

"It's not a zero sum game"

It sure as heck is for the poor, unwanted abortee.

FrancisChalk said...

Murphy Brown was a fictitious Hollywood mother in a popular TV show. She represented not a real mom in real life, but like everything out of Hollywood—a Leftist, anti-traditional family, anti-male, anti-Christian, and for the most part, an anti-American character in lock step with the Marxist/Socialist idea of tearing down Capitalism and the West (ala the Frankfurt School) by breaking down the foundations of Western, liberal democratic society.

I suspect Althouse does not see this well-worn Leftist technique for what is was/is because her own environment at WU normalizes the Frankfort School modus operandi so thoroughly it slips by unnoticed.

Unknown said...

----Judge not, that ye be not judged. Matthew 7:1

The first miracle that Jesus Christ performed was at a wedding. This has meaning as an affirmation of the beginning of married life. His story begins with a father and mother. Another affirmation - not judgement.

Daniel Barr said...

I submit that daughters of single moms fare as badly as the males do, maybe worse. I invite you to my neighborhood for 4th of July fireworks and you will see this tragedy as it exists here. Unmarried young mothers(girls) with infants in strollers attempting to compete with each other and the lure of street culture for the attention of the young males.......it is truly heartbreaking.

DEEBEE said...

Ann, that is the most idiotically blind analysis, I have seen you perform. Purposely or not whistling by the prominance of the show and Quayle's argument of what the show was popularizing.
Then you go into this fanatsy of Murphy possibly having altenative thoughts about marriage. Are you nuts -- that is just a fictional character. She would have thoughts that her writers put there.

Saint Croix said...

“Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong."

Does Dan Quayle support abortion? The reason I ask this is that his thought process leads to abortion.

Why do we abort? To make the wrong disappear.

The government helps this process along by dehumanizing the baby. Thus the question you are left asking yourself is what should I do about my bad, irresponsible pregnancy?

I see abortion as an act of repression. And good people have abortions precisely because they do not want to be wrong. More specifically, they do not want to be seen as in the wrong. So the wrong is hidden, denied, repressed. We make the pregnancy disappear to make the wrong disappear.

I can almost guarantee that many people who have abortions justify their actions using an idea very similar to Dan Quayle's. "Bearing this baby is wrong."

Liberals and feminists attacked Quayle in 1992 because he is hostile to choice. He is hostile to a woman who opts to be a single mom. But he is espousing an idea here that aborting moms find agreeable. "This is wrong. This is bad. I need to stop it."

Quayle is not a gifted speaker and his thought process is glib and careless. For instance, he could have said, "irresponsible sex is simply wrong," and we all would agree with him. Liberals would agree! And if they don't agree, they would be on the defensive.

Instead Quayle makes his rather stupid attack after the pregnancy has happened. He's a monday morning quarterback, an after the fact idiot. "This is irresponsible," he says to his pregnant daughter, making her cry. "You cannot care for this baby. You are a bad mom."

We should ask ourselves, why does the Washington Post now say that Dan Quayle is right? One might surmise that the liberals who are nodding their head at Dan Quayle are saying that being an irresponsible mom is wrong, and are silenting rooting for that abortion to happen.

Koblog said...

Dante wins!

"...the most intimate form of diversity, a father and a mother..."

My new favorite bumper sticker:

"Diversity" is having both a mother and father.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

Consider Obama's science czar:

"Illegitimate childbearing could be strongly discouraged. One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption--especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone. If a single mother really wished to keep her baby, she might be obliged to go through adoption proceedings and demonstrate her ability to support and care for it. It would even be possible to require single women to marry or have abortions..."

John Holdren should freak you out. Note how he sounds exactly like Dan Quayle at first!

Liberals quote our stupid, lazy thinkers and destroy people like Sarah Palin. You want to hear some right-wing intelligence about single moms and abortion? Listen to Sarah Palin, or her daughter Bristol.

The Washington Post will not be quoting the Palins any time soon. Not with approval, anyway. There will be no articles about how Sarah Palin was right.

Bristol Palin is a single mom and she is evil. Sarah Palin is a bad mom and she is evil. The bad moms must be repressed and the Washington Post will cite Dan Quayle to prove it.

Tucanae Services said...

Ann, you for once are wrong. Yes Quayle might have been over the top. Let it lie. The reason you are wrong and Quayle is right is the following. If you are the parent(s) of a minor it is hard work. It is one thing to risk it all, lose, and find your life destroyed. But to assume that risk, with the life of another, who is a dependent, is morally wrong. That is the case whether its one parent or two. But to willfully bring on life with a stacked deck as a single parent is the height of hubris.

RebeccaH said...

It's wrong because it's unfair to the child. Period.

Persnickety said...

Lots of talk about 'willfully' and 'deliberately' being a single parent - do you guys using that word think there should be more abortions? or are you just trying to avoid condemning the accidental pregnancies ?

I rather doubt there are very many women that set out to get pregnant, at least not as a percentage of total unmarried mothers. I'd guess carelessness/lack of control/plain foolishness account for the bulk. Ya'll can correct me if I'm wrong.

Assuming not though - assuming most situations weren't planned - HA HA HA HA HA !! This entire conversation is moot. What you need to do, ladies and gentlemen, is go to the source of single-parent households, and that source is single-person sex. So, good luck putting that toothpaste back in the tube.

Unknown said...

If memory serves, the "Dan Quayle Was Right" reference comes from the title of an article in the Atlantic Monthly making a point similar to your own. As the primary audience and viewpoint of the magazine was liberal, the title may be thought of as deliberately provocative. It was also a good example of open minded reporting on the part of the Atlantic.

R.C. said...

Huh.

Typically I agree with Ann Althouse or at least find something I can partly agree with in her posts.

But here, I think she's imagining things. I mean, WHAT "gratuitous shots" against women?

Let's break it down:

"Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong...."

Well, yes. That's a truism, because of the word "irresponsibly" in it, since the word can be parsed out as "wrongly (in a particular way involving irresponsibility)."

"Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong."

I don't know anyone who would deny that it is wrong for a man to father children and them abandon them, which is the intent of this sentence. ("Failing" is an imprecise phrasing, but I don't think anyone believes Quayle was targeting men who fathered children, wanted to support them, and failed for reasons beyond their control.)

"We must be unequivocal about this." Well, with what Quayle has said thus far, we can be: The starting two sentences are things everyone can agree with, the first because it is a tautology, and the second because it's a moral judgment against child abandonment by men.

But here comes the critical bit:

"It doesn’t help matters when...."

Ah. So what Quayle is about to say is not a NEW moral complaint, but rather a complaint that a bit of pop-culture storytelling undermines one of his previously stated moral complaints (against irresponsible childbearing and deadbeat dadhood).

"...prime-time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice."

This critical part contains two statements. The first statement is that the Murphy Brown storyline "mock[s] the importance of fathers."

I never watched the show, so I don't know whether the writers took subtle or not-so-subtle jabs at men and fatherhood in it. Certainly much of the rest of mass-media does so: The list of shows and movies and commercials depicting the husband/boyfriend as a clueless doofus and the woman as the person holding it all together would be ten miles long.

....continued....

R.C. said...

...continuing...

If the Murphy Brown show did this, then Quayle was right. If it did not, then he was wrong, not about the complaint generally, but in that he targeted the wrong show. (There are plenty of other guilty parties to choose from.)

The second straightforward assertion is that the Murphy Brown writers implied/stated that single motherhood was "....just another lifestyle choice."

Here, he didn't state things very clearly, but I think Quayle was defending a cultural understanding of single motherhood as something very hard that needs avoiding, and tougher on the kid than the alternative. A sort of taboo, not in the sense of "you're wicked if you do this," but in the sense of "you don't want to end up like this, so don't risk it."

The role of this cultural understanding is to discourage women from sleeping with guys to whom they aren't married and/or who might abandon them, for the sake of their own well-being and that of their (possible) children.

And we all agree that this is a socially helpful understanding for a culture to have. We realize that while Murphy Brown (well-to-do, educated) could probably hack single parenthood without too much damage to the child because of the economic resources at her disposal, her depiction of single parenthood alters the sense of what is normal and comfortable for people living in trailers and cheap apartments and small homes everywhere. THEY won't often handle things with such aplomb. The cultural taboo is what keeps them from behaviors that would put them in the poorhouse and their children in the clink, and Dan Quayle doesn't like it when popular culture undermines that.

That's what Dan Quayle said.

So here's the question for Professor Althouse: Where's the gratuitous "shot" at women?

To summarize, the quote breaks down to:

1. It's wrong to opt to have children under circumstances where it's wrong to exercise that option (tautology)

2. It's wrong for men to abandon children they've fathered (not against women)

3. It's wrong for mass media to undermine the taboos and expectations in our culture that dissuade women in general from making decisions likely to impoverish them and their children. This will increase the marginal propensity of persons to make bad decisions, which will be bad for society in general, and especially for the women in question.

Not a single gratuitous slam of women in the whole thing!

Where's the "women ought to remain barefoot and pregnant" assertion? Where's the "women are brainless prats who should shut up when the menfolk are talking?" Where's the "women can't be trusted with important jobs since they're on the rag a quarter of the month?" Now that kind of thing would constitute gratuitous shots at women.

But the Quayle quote? I'm not seeing it.

Kirk Parker said...

Quayle,

Dude, what's going on? Did you borrow tradguy's Travyon™ shovel or something? Just because abortion is wrong--deadly wrong--doesn't mean deliberately or carelessly bearing children out of wedlock isn't also wrong--a lesser one, to be sure, but still wrong.

Kirk Parker said...

Oh my gosh--sorry sorry sorry! My immediately previous comment was meant to be directed to Saint Croix.

Saint Croix said...

Just because abortion is wrong--deadly wrong--doesn't mean deliberately or carelessly bearing children out of wedlock isn't also wrong--a lesser one, to be sure, but still wrong.

I think Bristol Palin would acknowledge that it's a mistake to raise a baby without a father. But to say it's wrong for her to do so is stupid and shortsighted. Obviously, she can't control the father. If he leaves, she's a single mom.

I don't think fornication is wrong. Use birth control, have love in your heart, be faithful. If you have a baby, love the baby. Get married.

If you're not prepared to outlaw fornication, shut up about how evil it is. Seriously. Why use criminal language--which is what "right and wrong" is--in regard to single moms? It's silly to talk that way, and not helpful.

Methadras said...

The castigation that Quayle received for what would end up being a national phenomenon as dictated by Hollywood through it's propaganda machine, television should be noted that not only was he right, but that he deserves an apology. He may be having the last laugh in this, but the numbers don't lie and to the detriment of our country to boot.

Q said...

Quayle took some gratuitous shots at women in his notorious remark


Really? I'm not seeing it.


Another problem with what Quayle said is that he characterized the kind of woman that we'd presume to be responsible — the "intelligent, highly paid professional woman" — as doing 2 things she might not have been doing


If you read your own quote of Quayle, what he actually said was - "Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid professional woman ...."


Note that word "supposedly". He's objecting to the media's creation of a certain ideal for women. You make it sound as if he objected to "intelligent, highly paid professional woman", and he didn't. He just didn't.

Q said...

There's a difference between saying it will be hard and it's simply wrong.


Of course there is a difference. Being wrong and being hard are two different things. In this case the thing being discussed is both hard and wrong.

Q said...

Chase, if you frame an argument so that the first thing people can reply is unrelated to your point, you will not make your case.


Quayle: Unwed mothers, such as Murphy Brown, as a problem.


Reaction: You do realize, don't you, that Murphy Brown is a fictitious character


The entire point was that pop culture glorified single-motherhood, so citing a fictitious single mother was more than apt.

I've never been impressed by the leftist tic of pretending not to understand what the right is saying, and furthermore pretending that their "inability to understand" was based on the rights failure to offer a cogent argument.

It's all so juvenile.

(I'm doing the left the favor here of assuming that they pretend not to understand. I'd rather not believe that fellow humans are quite so stupid as the alternative would suggest)

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Nathan Alexander said...

The bottom line is:
People who have decided to act immorally don't like to have it pointed out.

There is this fantasy among the Left (and Ms Althouse seems to have absorbed it from her environment) that one can dismiss morality as being mere prudish scolding.

In fact, morality is inherited wisdom that comes from seeing choices played out across generations, in nearly every conceivable circumstance.

It is the conceit of the Left (and Ms Althouse seems to have absorbed it from her environment) that the only true freedom is freedom from morality...that bad consequences aren't actually bad if you claim morality doesn't apply to you.

It's only a short step from there to claiming that the only reason there are bad consequences is because someone is judging.

That last sentence is the whole Leftist ideology in a nutshell, isn't it.

submandave said...

The "she's a fictional character" argument always struck me as intentionally obtuse. Yes, Quayle could have more clearly expressed his point, but I think the bottom line sentiment that unwed motherhood is a societal problem was fairly obvious.

The problem was the mainstreaming of this "choice" by using responsible characters such as Murphy Brown tended to obscure that single-mother families in which everything was rosy are the statistical exception, and not the rule. If a popular TV show had glamorized drug use as just another "lifestyle choice," then nobody would have questioned Quayle. That he chose to address a destructive trend that is unique to women, however, made him a target. I guess he can commiserate with Bill Cosby on that, eh?