There’s a new kid on the block. He might look kind of dorky, but I think one day he’ll be famous. I refer to the new Institute of Marriage and the Family.
I gave a speech to their grand opening last Thursday, in case anyone thinks it creates a conflict of interest. In it I said this organization (www.imfcanada.org) is not just desirable but long overdue. We live in an era of social science, and give at least as much deference on ethical as well as technical questions to “experts” as our ancestors did to priests. So isn’t it high time experts scrutinized the family in Canada? As Derek Rogusky and Mark Penninga note in the inaugural IMFC Review: “In the early 1960s over 90 per cent of children [in Canada] were born to parents who were married for the first time and who had not cohabited — with anyone — prior to marriage.” Now it’s under 40 per cent. “What has happened in the span of one generation?” they ask.
One odd thing is that inhabitants of Western countries, except the U.S., are suddenly having well under the 2.1 children per woman necessary to prevent depopulation. And having your populace vanish might matter. Germany’s new chancellor just urged her compatriots to have more kids, even though she has none because “it just did not fit in with my career path.” And Japan’s prime minister urged his people to “do as dogs do” because “Dogs produce lots of puppies and when they do, the pains of labour are easy.” There are worse things than carefully packaged political speeches. But at least problems related to changing family structure, to use the antiseptic social- science term, are on people’s minds in other countries. Continue Reading →
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