Mainstream Social Science Awakens to the Importance of the Family

In her recent book The Two-Parent Privilege, the economist Melissa Kearney assembles a mass of data supporting a proposition that has long been argued for by right-leaning scholars, and seems self-evident to countless people: that marriage is beneficial to society, and children are better off when raised by a mother and father. Kay Hymowitz observes:

What makes The Two-Parent Privilege an event is not [its conclusions], but the author herself. Ever since the brouhaha following the 1965 Moynihan Report’s warnings about the rise in single motherhood among low-income blacks, the policy and social-science establishment has been loath to engage the issue. This has remained true even as the same family troubles spread to the white and Hispanic working class, and even as evidence mounted that the breakdown in marriage was not only bad for children but also worsened inequality. When a prominent scholar with impeccable center-left credentials like Kearney forthrightly makes that case, she is veering into policy quicksand.

This is a danger of which she is well aware. At professional conferences, her colleagues have reacted to her research with comments on the order of: “I tend to agree with you about all this but are you sure you want to be out there saying this publicly?” Others have told her that she sounded “socially conservative,” implying that she was “not academically serious.”

[Indeed], the research enumerated in The Two-Parent Privilege enriches our understanding of working-class decline and, more broadly, the nation’s political and cultural polarization. . . . Kearney only touches on another uncomfortable truth emerging from The Two-Parent Privilege. The subject of the choice of whether or not to marry—something most Americans, liberal and conservative, revere as a personal decision—remains largely off limits despite its profound social and economic impact.

“We should be clear-eyed about the reality,” Kearney writes. “Parents affect their children’s lives and shape their outcomes in ways that government cannot fully make up for.”

Read more at City Journal

More about: American family, Economics, Marriage

Israel’s Retaliation against the Houthis Sends a Message to the U.S., and to Its Arab Allies

The drone that struck a Tel Aviv high-rise on Thursday night is believed to have traveled over 2,000 kilometers, flying from Yemen over Egypt and then above the Mediterranean before veering eastward toward the Israeli coast. Since October, the Houthis have launched over 200 drones at Israel. Nor is this the first attempt to strike Tel Aviv, only the first successful one. Noah Rothman observes that the Houthis’ persistent attacks on Israel and on international shipping are largely the result of the U.S.-led coalition’s anemic response:

Had the Biden administration taken a more proactive and vigorous approach to neutralizing the Houthis’ capabilities, Israel would not be obliged to expand to Yemen the theater of operations in the war Hamas inaugurated on October 7. The prospects of a regional war grow larger by the day, not because Israel cannot “take the win,” as President Biden reportedly told Benjamin Netanyahu following a full-scale direct Iranian attack on the Jewish state, but because hostile foreign actors are killing its citizens. Jerusalem is obliged to defend them and the sovereignty of Israel’s borders.

Biden’s hesitancy was fueled by his apprehension over the prospect of a “wider war” in the Middle East. But his hesitancy is what is going to give him the war he so cravenly sought to avoid.

In this context, the nature of the Israeli response is significant: rather than follow the American strategy of striking isolated weapons depots and the like, IDF jets struck the port city of Hodeida—the sort of major target the U.S. has shied away from. The mission was likely the furthest-ever carried out by the Israel Air Force, hitting a site 200 kilometers further from Israel than Tehran. Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat comment:

The message that Israel sent was intended to reach the moderate Arab countries, the West, and especially the United States. . . . The message to the coalition countries is that “the containment” had failed and the Houthis must be hit harder. The Hodeida port is the lifeline of the Houthi economy and continued damage to it will make it extremely difficult for this economy, which is also facing significant American sanctions.

Read more at National Review

More about: Houthis, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy