Don’t Give Up on the Nuclear Family

In a recent essay, the opinion writer David Brooks argues that the American nuclear family flourished because of a unique set of social and economic factors that took hold from 1950 to 1965. But the nuclear family proved too fragile to withstand subsequent challenges. Therefore, Brooks concluded, the proper response to the current crisis of the family is not to recreate the nuclear family of midcentury America but instead to reach farther back to older and more enduring forms of social and familial relations. Mona Charen is unconvinced:

In his more than 8,000-word essay, Brooks fails to grapple with marriage. Without solid marriages to form the bedrock of families, it is hard to see how the extended families or family alternatives Brooks envisions can flourish.

In what seems an inversion, Brooks lays at the feet of the nuclear family the awful consequences of its collapse. Citing the rise of loneliness among the elderly, for example, Brooks chalks this up to the lack of “extended families.” He neglects to cite the decline of marriage and the rise of divorce. In other words, more elderly Americans are lonely because they are divorced or never married (leaving aside the irreducible percentage who are widows or widowers). It is un-marriage that has contributed to this problem more than the loss of extended families.

While it’s true that the 1950s are not coming back, we don’t need to consult history to find nuclear families that are thriving. As Brooks acknowledges, among the college-educated upper third in America today, marriage remains nearly as universal as it was among all Americans decades ago. Even in our era, . . . Americans with college degrees are managing to make the nuclear-family model work. Not just work, thrive. Interestingly, as [the eminent sociologist] Charles Murray highlighted in [his recent book] Coming Apart, the college-educated are actually more likely to be religiously observant than the less-educated today. That was not the case 50 years ago.

But it isn’t just wealthy families that are clinging to the nuclear model. Among the religiously observant, like Orthodox Jews and Mormons, the nuclear family remains strong. . . . Even among the poor, some are making marriage and the nuclear family a priority. Among immigrants, 76 percent of children live with two parents compared with 62 percent of native-born families—this, despite the fact that a quarter of immigrant parents do not have high-school diplomas.

Read more at Bulwark

More about: Family, Marriage, Religion

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations