Falling apart?

Americans increasingly abandoning positive traditional culture

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Jerry Springer, television’s pestiferous purveyor of raunch, recently joked – we think – that he’s the “father of the destruction of Western civilization.”

We don’t know if either part is true: that Western civilization is being destroyed, or that Springer is the cause.

But the trends are troubling.

Institutions that have given form to Western society for centuries – marriage, family, church – have eroded sharply in the past half-century, and have undergone dramatic change in just the past few years. Some of the nation’s most vexing social ills – poverty, crime, educational underachievement and more – often have their roots in the
waning of those institutions.

What we used to call illegitimacy accounts for much of it. And it’s skyrocketing, currently at 41 percent. Someday soon, half of all children may be born out of wedlock. And the marriage rate of 51 percent indicates married people may soon be the new minority.

Says a study by the University of Virginia’s Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox: “Children born to unmarried mothers are significantly more likely than children born to married parents to suffer from poverty, physical and sexual abuse and neglect, psychological problems such as depression, delinquency and criminal activity, and educational failure. ...

“Dr. George Akerlof, a Nobel-prize-winning economist at the University of California-Berkeley, is particularly perceptive in this regard. In two different studies, he argues that the sexual revolution – aided in part by widespread contraception – fueled a dramatic increase in premarital sex, and reduced the normative imperative that men should take responsibility for the children they help bring into the world by marrying; these two developments, in turn, led to dramatic increases in non-marital childbearing. From this research, Dr. Akerlof concludes that the sexual revolution played an important role in the nation’s retreat from marriage over the last four decades, and is indirectly responsible for the social consequences of that retreat. ...

“The bottom line is this: the erosion of the norm of premarital sexual abstinence, both in belief and behavior, appears to have played an important role in the weakening of American family life and, in turn, some of the nation’s most pressing social problems.”

The thing is, rather than confront such problems, our society has celebrated them. Marriage and premarital abstinence have been ridiculed and marginalized, while contraceptives have become a civil right and single motherhood has been beatified.

The Oxygen network recently canceled plans for a reality show called All My Babies’ Mamas – about a man who has 11 children with 10 different women – perhaps only because of a conservative outcry against it.

In last year’s election, a campaign video showed how a fictional, apparently single mother named Julia would have a great life with cradle-to-grave government nurturing.

“It was a strange presentation on the good life – one that is, I would say, foreign to traditional American culture,” says Scott Phelps, executive director of the national Abstinence and Marriage Education Partnership, who spoke in Columbia County last week on behalf of the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center.

In short, traditional American culture doesn’t fare well anymore. And we are headed into largely uncharted waters societally.

Phelps and his organization, which provides marriage and family curricula to parents and schools in all 50 states, believes objective facts are on the side of traditional American beliefs. Social science research, he says, demonstrates that people who are married live longer, are healthier, earn more, and report more happiness and satisfaction with their lives.

And a University of Michigan study, he notes,
indicates 90 percent of youths think a good marriage and family are very important to their
futures.

But that’s hardly what they’re seeing, often at home and certainly not in the media. Not on Jerry Springer, anyway.

One young woman told Phelps a few years ago that she’d never thought of being abstinent before marriage, but that the thought appealed to her.

That, and other healthy behaviors, might appeal to a whole bunch of American kids. But they’ve got to be exposed to it – somewhere.

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specsta
5747
Points
specsta 01/20/13 - 02:52 am
9
16

Family Values? Really???

A lot of folks are not getting married today due to economics. Most folks are broke, especially young, single adults. They are being crushed by student loans and lack of job opportunities. Who wants the responsibility of paying for a home, children, daycare, etc. when there is no money? It makes no sense.

Perhaps if the US funneled away a portion of the billions spent on bombs and bullets and directed that cash toward making sure every student received a free college education, maybe marriage and family would be a bit more appealing.

Everything in this country is based on money - and greedy corporations, greedy governments, greedy justice systems, etc. make it a very hard life for the common citizen.

Once again, the Chronicle paints some Utopia of a country where everyone has a middle-class life, has a good education, lives in a safe neighborhood, has access to healthy foods, access to quality medical care, has a nice home and reliable car. Believing in this Utopia makes it easy to condemn those who have children and are unmarried, makes it easy to demonize those who have sex before being married, and makes it easy to denigrate those who must choose between an abortion or living in poverty while trying to take care of a child. Well, here's a reality check - LIFE IS HARD FOR A LOT OF FOLKS!!!

The main reasons for divorce in this country are two things - money problems or sexual problems. That's it. If these so called "family values" crusaders were really concerned about building families, they would do everything in their power to makes sure young couples are thoroughly educated about financial responsibilities and sexual compatibility. But that's not gonna happen. They would rather teach students about nonsense that will never affect their lives.

So this whole "traditional marriage and family" mantra is just an attempt to continue class warfare and to lay the blame for society's ills at the feet of the most vulnerable - the poor. It is beyond disgusting.

Jon Lester
2220
Points
Jon Lester 01/20/13 - 04:04 am
4
9

Wishful thinking aside, some are naturally hesitant

to attempt something that only has a 48% chance of success.

carcraft
20671
Points
carcraft 01/20/13 - 06:53 am
15
7

There are about three things

There are about three things you need to do to avoid poverty in the US, Graduate from high school, get married before you have children and wait until you are over twenty one to have a child. Not hard, not rocket science, but it does appear too difficult for many in our culture. http://www.ehow.com/info_8332228_singleparent-homes-affect-children.html . Here are some statistics on prison population and fatherless homes. http://www.fathermag.com/news/2778-stats.shtml Note all the data cited is sourced. The government subsidizes this non sense and the left cheers the subsidies and I am starting to laugh because sooner or later the money is going to run out! You can flaunt your nose at the facts and statistics all you want but they are pretty clear. Now please explain to me why people cannot afford to get married! I’ve shown you why people cannot afford to not be married!

Riverman1
70599
Points
Riverman1 01/20/13 - 07:49 am
10
6

Jerry Springer's America

There is a large Jerry Springer America out there. I was from one of those families growing up and don’t try to sugar coat my upbringing. These people don’t rotate their tires on time or worry about 401K’s. I remember the IRS coming one night because my daddy hadn't paid income taxes in about 37 years. They came back a couple of years later looking for my uncle.

These people live mad, mad lives where they survive, work a little, party a lot and learn their politics from listening to grunge or country music (I love country music). It kind of makes America an interesting place. It’s why I like bars in Richmond County now and then.

I grew up in a family where the bootlegger knew us, but not the preacher. There was always lots of boozing going on, getting somebody out of jail and finding a cut-rate, borderline legal, dentist with hands that shook real bad who only pulled teeth. A big old black home medical care book acted as the family doctor. I don’t mean to get off subject because taking care of your kids is important. But many of these Springer families we worry about actually focus on their kids more than some others chasing the pot of gold.

These poorer folks put most of their energy into their kids while some who are financially better off try do an hour or so a day at dinner like they heard someone on TV say they should do.

CobaltGeorge
138785
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/20/13 - 09:59 am
7
6

myfather15

I have to say, you are definitely in the wrong profession. I don't think I have ever disagreed with anything you have ever posted...you are one True common sense American. It is a shame that so many are just the opposite and that is the real reason for a falling America.

seenitB4
72727
Points
seenitB4 01/20/13 - 10:51 am
6
0

Well I can agree with this spec

Well, here's a reality check - LIFE IS HARD FOR A LOT OF FOLKS!!!

also teach kids finances & sexual dos & don'ts....we do teach them the wrong things......& it goes over like water on a ducks back....BUT having 2 parents in the house would do wonders for their life....give them a chance to become educated adults....

I came up in a poor family but I knew the love was there from both parents....it ain't easy but it can be done....the family unit should be as strong as possible....imho.

Willow Bailey
20252
Points
Willow Bailey 01/20/13 - 11:14 am
6
2

A little adversity is good

A little adversity is good for the soul. Living in and participating in moral depravity, not good for anything other than destruction of family and society. People need to face their past, make peace with it and discover better choices. Change is possible for those who really want it. The root of America's dysfunctional living is dead hearts.

Bulldog1
223
Points
Bulldog1 01/20/13 - 11:18 am
8
7

Specsta is a great example

Specsta's comment is an absolute confirmation of the editorial writers suggestions. This individual is obvious so absorbed into the underculture of ignorance and entitlement that they cannot possibly see that they are the problem. These people believe that they are somehow entitled to support from others despite the fact that they have absolutely no basis for that belief. The very concept of being personally responsible for themselves and their offspring is frightening to them.

dichotomy
26667
Points
dichotomy 01/20/13 - 11:31 am
10
4

Specsta...."Perhaps if the US

Specsta...."Perhaps if the US funneled away a portion of the billions spent on bombs and bullets and directed that cash toward making sure every student received a free college education"

Actually, that is the problem with the cost of education now....and medical care. If the government was not providing student loans, and if the government was not funding medical care, college educations would cost about $2k a year and doctors would still be working for chickens and vegetables. If professors and medical providers were working for what they are worth in the real economy the average American would be able to afford their services.

I know that is a bit of a stretch, but the point is that when the government starts funding a service, the sky is the limit as to what they charge and it comes with a built in rate increase every year. There is no incentive to control costs when the government is providing the money. Colleges are paying professors hundreds of thousands of dollars a year who couldn't make $25k if they had to actually get out and work for a living. Hospitals are a huge for profit industry. Why do you think the taxpayer should fund these industries?

I say cut funding for college loans and watch the price of a college education come way down and the diploma mills (which most colleges are today) go out of business. And watch a lot of these professional students working on their masters in "17th century literature", "marketing", or "communications" learn to make a real good living as a plumber, IT network engineer, or HVAC technician at a good tech school for one tenth of the cost.

Believe me, I've worked with a lot of these college educated kids coming in to the workplace for the past 20 or 30 years. We ain't getting our money's worth and neither are the students that are running up all of that debt. They got a piece of paper but not much more. Most 4 year college graduates I meet today do not have the basic reading, writing, English grammar, and math skills of a "college track" high school graduate in the 60s.

Using government taxpayer money to give everybody a free college education would simply be a matter of the government bailing out another failed, bloated industry that cannot compete in the marketplace.

ymnbde
7500
Points
ymnbde 01/20/13 - 11:47 am
4
7

jerry springer

is the obvious brightly dead canary in the coal mine.
Less obvious is the origin of the moronic drivel preached by (my goodness, he's a posterboy for the article) specsta above, and so thoroughly refuted by myfather15 and dichotomy. His childlike imagination so easily populates our country with victims of every politically incorrect malevolence. Only government, and it's power to take money (work) from one and award it to another, can save them. Reality is what he imagines it to be, nothing more, nothing less.
Government schools reinforce and perpetuate this cognitive immaturity.

carcraft
20671
Points
carcraft 01/20/13 - 12:00 pm
9
4

Why work?

Riverman, a lot of the poor and newly poor do not put their time into raising their kids. The grandparent are raising the kids while the single mom is out spending the welfare checks and looking for another boyfriend or the nest high or shacked up. I remember the shooting in an apartment complex. Some guy had knocked up some young thing and they had a kid. Daddy was off to his next sexual conquest and the mommy was supposed to sit in an apartment (the daddy wasn't paying for) and wait for him. Well the mommy hooked up with someone else so daddy got jealous and shot mommy and mommy’s new boy toy. Now the girls grandparents are raising the child. Sometimes the daddy is just nowhere to be found and the daughter is out running the streets. Guess what Riverman, the welfare checks for this type of garbage just keep growing as more and more buy into it! Now you can use EBT cards for tattoos, booze, cigarettes and vacations! It is illegal of course but chances of getting caught are minimal! http://www.11alive.com/CIA/241583/320/Senator-demands-answers-after-we-e... The more kids you have the more you get in EBT cards! Parents party while grandparents raise the children and all on tax payers dimes with “Obama money”!

ymnbde
7500
Points
ymnbde 01/20/13 - 12:28 pm
4
1

very good

article

grouse
1582
Points
grouse 01/20/13 - 12:46 pm
0
0

Then there is the hateful,

Unpublished

Then there is the hateful, mocking, dishonest, vulgar rhetoric from Rush Limbaugh and all his wannabees.

DanK
754
Points
DanK 01/20/13 - 01:30 pm
7
5

Making up an unreality

There seem to be an awful lot of people who are still living in denial. They believe that they can somehow turn back the clock, live in some fictional time and place that existed in pictures during the mid 20th century. It was a sliver of time during which the myth arose of everyone living in white houses in nice neighborhoods with white picket fences, every family driving a new car, kids who never even heard the word sex until they turned 21 and never had sex until after marriage, a place where everyone went to church, the races were separated and whites controlled everything because they were smarter and prettier in the eyes of God.

Fact is, that era is gone. It was mostly fantasy, created by social engineers, politicians, media, religious leaders and corporations. In reality, it was an imaginary reality concocted as an ideal. It existed for a middle class who drank the koolaide, and then it dissipated just as quickly.

Societies are living organisms. They change, evolve with every generation, due to technological change, economic shifts, political power struggles, belief systems.

The notion that we can somehow go back to that time that was never really as idyllic as the pictures painted is no more possible than going back to the antebellum south.

You can't coerce abstinence. The idea never worked very well in practice to begin with, but it is ludicrous to believe that the majority of people would accept it now. Times change. The only approach that has actually proven successful is education, beginning at a young age. Sex education, easy access to birth control, and non-judgmental abortion. Countries that do this (which is most of the affluent western societies) have low teen pregnancy rates and much lower infant mortality rates than the U.S.

The reality is, although most young people give lip service to the old values, they morph them to today's reality. Women are now independent enough that they put off marriage, even if they choose to have a child, because they do not need to be married. They have their own jobs, careers, their own lives. Single women make up 20% of the voting populace. This is the reality, not fantasy. It is just plain silly to think a group of white men with old fashioned ideas are going to convince them to abruptly step into the 1950s picture of the subservient homemaker. It ain't gonna happen.

20% of the populace is Nones -- people who are atheist, agnostic or no particular religious inclination. Do all the preaching you want about how social order and morality should be dictated by the religious interpretations of white older males. It is no longer the reality of our society.

America is now racially, ethnically and culturally diverse. It is delusional to believe that the rigid ideology of older white males is going to somehow survive unchallenged and unchanged in the new America. The reality, as the melting pot of immigrants, American society and values have evolved continually throughout our history, and those whose old ideas were supplanted have decried the doom of the country.

It's time to accept reality. We do not live in the mid-1900s. You cannot go back. You cannot superimpose that old picture on the current world. Find solutions that work in today's world. Be a part of the evolution, or be an anachronism.

KSL
105863
Points
KSL 01/20/13 - 02:01 pm
5
4

Don't know history, do you?

Don't know history, do you?

Jane18
12331
Points
Jane18 01/20/13 - 02:10 pm
6
3

Family Values, Specsta? Oh Yeah, Really!

I'll make this short.... because we had values, they were passed on to my son. He is a 42 year old man now, bought 113 acres of land in 2005, built a house, dug a 5-acre pond, has everything he needs, vehicles, tractor, 4-wheeler, horses, fruit trees(he planted), and a great fiancee' that is working also to have ''THE AMERICAN DREAM". He didn't go to college, went to a technical school, and the first job he applied for, he got it, and is still there. He knew he must study and work hard to have what he wanted, knew he had to treat his fellow man as he would want to be treated, and know that there IS a GOD! Is he perfect, probably not, but he tries to be as good as he can. Is he some child's Daddy? No, but maybe one day he will. And if he doesn't that's okay......I hope I, my ex-husband(son's Dad), and my husband now, helped to make him the man he is, if we did, it was with GOD's help...........Great article AC Staff, and great comments by some of my Augusta Chronicle heroes (made tears come to my eyes myfather15) P.S., My son Only Owes for his home, another 12 years! That's right, he doesn't owe for anything else, and guess what? He's never had government help for or on anything!!

Jane18
12331
Points
Jane18 01/20/13 - 02:24 pm
5
2

Our Culture Is Taking Us Downnnnnnnnn

Some time back I read about how our culture has been used against us. The AC even mentioned this material for me, for people to read. It was History of the Frankfurt School. The best explanation of it was by Dr. Gerald Atkinson. It will open your eyes...........................DanK, where does anyone even start to answer such a negative letter as yours? So sad............!!

carcraft
20671
Points
carcraft 01/20/13 - 03:07 pm
5
2

Many on the left are in

Many on the left are in denial! Never has so much been taken from so few to support a life style incompatible with sociology, biology and history! When in man's history have parents deserted the raising of children the way we are now and the society flourished?

carcraft
20671
Points
carcraft 01/20/13 - 03:31 pm
4
2

Weiss are going broke! As the

We are going broke! As the government prints money, the money loses value. As money loses value those on fixed incomes such as people on walfare. To see where we are headed look at the Weimer Republic at the end of World War One!

CobaltGeorge
138785
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/20/13 - 03:33 pm
3
3

Crap, Damn, Hell, Darn it

73 years of honor, respect, common sense, married a virgin beautiful women, father of 5 sons who was raised with all the love that parents could give, never even had a speeding or parking ticket, worked 12 to 14 hours from 4 to 17 years of age, 20 years putting my life on the line for the once great Nation, never failed to pay any debt I owed, never received one penny from anyone for all the things that I now have and own......

and then comes DanK.....

and classifies me as I am nothing but outdated, has-been, old fashion, now living in denial and fictional time...

OLD WHITE MALE

Now I know what I have been all these outdated years. Thanks Dank!!

carcraft
20671
Points
carcraft 01/20/13 - 03:36 pm
5
1

Those that are married

Those that are married support each other and work together will get through, those that depend on welfare with no self-discipline are going to have a rough go of it. Then a lot of this nonsense well end because it is not sustainable!

CobaltGeorge
138785
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/20/13 - 03:48 pm
3
1

I

really, really think that life as treated me unjustly. If only I could have had DanK as a mentor, I could now be enjoying life with all the freebies that are being award, not worrying about Taxes, Insurance and watching how I spend my unearned money. To think that I have missed out on the the women I could have had and enjoyed, Hick, I could even be living a wonderful lifestyle as a Gay.

Now I'm really down and depressed!

Fiat_Lux
13863
Points
Fiat_Lux 01/20/13 - 03:58 pm
3
0

Just wait

till some of those people who are so happily sowing their wild oats are called to account for the crop that grew up and choked out the harvest that was supposed to be.

It is nothing less than stunning that people in the United States somehow think there's no tab to be paid for all the self-indulgent exploitation of other people that results in bumper crops of new little souls showing up every year for decades. Those new little eternal beings have an eternal destination, and the people that took at least 1/3 of the role in their creation will have some explaining to do if their offsprings' destination turns out to be completely, irretrievably lost.

It simply is not reasonable to believe that little boys learn how to be strong, responsible men without one of those in their lives whom they can watch and imitate, and one that also will be a backstop, safety net and the provider of a swift kick in the rear when needed to improve their focus and understanding.

No matter how much a mother, grandmother, aunt or godmother may love and attempt to raise a boy--and some do amazing jobs at teaching them how to be great human beings--boys need men to show them how to be men.

And boys will find someone to mentor them. How do you think gangs came into being and have gained such a strangle hold among the children of so many foundering neighborhoods and communities?

ymnbde
7500
Points
ymnbde 01/20/13 - 04:08 pm
5
0

read something, anything

DanK, but especially Coming Apart, by Charles Murray. You'll see how utterly wrong, dangerously wrong, you are.
The jerry springer folks are getting dumber and more incapable of functioning in today's world.

CobaltGeorge
138785
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/20/13 - 04:14 pm
2
2

Forgot Something,

Instead of having a higher than a Top Secret clearance that allowed me to encrypt and decrypt presidential messages, I could have by living the new updated lifestyle a 5 page Rap Sheet hanging on my Section 8 den wall and be proud showing all my associates when we partied and smoke some dope.

What a wasted life I have had according to Dank.

harley_52
19540
Points
harley_52 01/20/13 - 05:21 pm
2
0

Excellent Post..

Fiat_Lux.

You've nailed it again.

specsta
5747
Points
specsta 01/20/13 - 05:41 pm
2
2

We Can Find A Way

myfather15 wrote - "What you are talking about; there isn't enough money in the world to do this. Not with what college costs today."

How about this fact - the US imprisons more than 2 million inmates at a cost of $31,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on the state. We have the largest prison population on the entire planet. Most of these inmates are behind bars for non-violent offenses, such as drug possession. The prison population has exploded due to mandatory sentencing and for-profit prisons is the normal way of doing business these days. So there is even a profit incentive to lock folks up.

There is ALWAYS money to imprison people in this country, even if the offender poses no threat or danger to the rest of society. If someone commits a victimless crime, there is ALWAYS room for him at the one-cell inn.

Where does this unlimited supply of money to imprison folks come from? It comes courtesy of the US and state government, to the tune of over $40 BILLION dollars a year.

YET, according to the College Board, the average cost of a moderate in-state college education is $22,261 (tuition, fees, meals, housing, transportation, books).

Now what's the better value? $31,000-$50,000 to lock up non-violent offenders, thereby removing any productivity they could have contributed to society, or taking those same funds and educating someone and giving them a chance at life?

Some believe that I have a hatred for America. Quite the contrary. This country has the potential to become the greatest second act known to mankind. A second act where we treat all citizens equally, where we show compassion to those who are desperate and need a way out, where we become the best-educated nation on the planet. Ignorance is slavery and the chains are still rattling. That is why I am so adamant that things must change, and the elimination of greed, class warfare, and blaming poor folks for everything wrong is the first crucial step.

We have to do better and grow up.

Austin Rhodes
2674
Points
Austin Rhodes 01/20/13 - 06:38 pm
3
2

Very interesting thread...great points!

...and a small correction for my friends on the ACES...it was NOT conservative voices that caused the Baby Daddy show be pulled...it was concern from the LEFT. Specifically the NAACP and a few more like them.

ymnbde
7500
Points
ymnbde 01/20/13 - 07:02 pm
2
1

my goodness, specsta

do you think those innocent souls in PRISON would have been in COLLEGE otherwise? They would have been STUDYING then WORKING then being FATHERS? HA! They commit crime all their lives. The only times they don't commit crime is when they are in prison. They are in prison because they are criminals. They are not in college because they are criminals.
Every single person in this country has a chance at a better life. The government controlled education system makes it more difficult for some. Complain about that when you grow up.

dichotomy
26667
Points
dichotomy 01/20/13 - 08:08 pm
4
1

Specsta....the only

Specsta....the only institutional things in this country that keep people poor are the "safety net" programs we thought we were implementing to take care of the needy. One thing we have certainly proven is that if you go looking to help the needy a lot of people will make themselves appear needy to take whatever you are giving away.

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