“If the Occupiers were right about one thing, it was that there is a growing inequality in American life,” writes David Paul Deavel in One Percent or 33: America’s Real Inequality Problem in the Acton Institute’s Religion and Liberty. But to the extent they articulate any explanation, they leave out a very important one, one he thinks explained in great and persuasive detail by Mitch Pearlstein in From Family Collapse to America’s Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation. Pearlstein, writes Deavel,
focuses on the 33 percent. This is the percent of children living with one parent rather than two. These children, victims of what many call “family fragmentation,” start out with tremendous social and educational deficits that are hard to narrow, nevermind close. These are most often the children for whom upward mobility has stalled. Their economic well-being has led to decline in American competitiveness and also the deeper cleavages of inequality that have been so widely noted.
One (this is me, not Deavel) doesn’t have to discount the wickedness of bankers to see that a dysfunctional family will severely reduce most children’s ability to live successfully in a world in which bankers are wicked. One might, as Chesterton did, suggest a connection between the bankers’ self-interest and their promotion of programs that destabilize and undermine the family. (Who invests in this stuff, after all?) This would seem to be a n0-brainer for the Occupiers. But the sexual revolution and its effects on the formation of children is one of those aspects of the contemporary establishment of which those earnest critics of the establishment are oblivious. Judging from Deavel’s review, Mitch Pearlstein sees it clearly.