October 24, 2013


A Married Mom and Dad Really Do Matter: New Evidence from Canada (Mark Regnerus, 10/24/13, Crisis)

There is a new and significant piece of evidence in the social science debate about gay parenting and the unique contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children's flourishing. A study just published in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household--analyzing data from a very large, population-based sample--reveals that the children of gay and lesbian couples are only about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school as the children of married, opposite-sex couples. And gender matters, too: girls are more apt to struggle than boys, with daughters of gay parents displaying dramatically low graduation rates.

Unlike US-based studies, this one evaluates a 20 percent sample of the Canadian census, where same-sex couples have had access to all taxation and government benefits since 1997 and to marriage since 2005.

Wagner's Incestuous Narcissism (David P. Goldman, Aug/Sep 2011, First Things)

Wagner remains the consummate bard of narcissistic love, of passion for our own alter egos. That is a side of his genius that his detractors miss. "Wagner's heroines, once they have been divested of their heroic husks, are indistinguishable from Madame Bovary," Nietzsche sniffed. But Flaubert's provincial housewife did not elope with her long-lost twin brother. The great novelist kept his protagonist at a critical distance, and there is a touch of black humor in her suicide by poison. Where Emma Bovary pursued a fantasy of romantic love in what ultimately is a cautionary tale, Wagner recreates the sensuous reality of self-love. 

Wagner wants to counterpose a love of pure impulse to the covenantal order of traditional society. He despises covenantal order; as Nietzsche wrote, "Whence arises all evil in the world, Wagner asked himself? . . . From customs, laws, morals, institutions, from all those things on which the ancient world and ancient society rests." 

Wagner reminds us why Judeo-Christian society rests on the institution of marriage. It is not merely because marriage produces children and socializes them. A republic is defined, Augustine argued in The City of God, not only by a common interest but by a common love. Western polity depends on the mutual love of God and his people. In the normative love of men and women, it is opposites that attract; that is why, since Hosea, heterosexual love has served as the metaphor par excellence for the love of the absolute Other.

Far better than the political philosophers, Wagner understood that the covenant that underlies Western society is not a Hobbesian calculation but rather a nuptial commitment. The family is the fundamental unit of society because it nurtures in the sphere of intimacy an approximation of the covenantal bond between God and Israel.

Posted by at October 24, 2013 7:33 PM

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