Commentary

If Conservatives Do Not Defend The Family, Who Will?

| Feb 16, 2021

Millennials are on track to be the least married generation in American history. They are running out of time to make up for their record childlessness. That’s a lot of alienation and misery, some of it unnecessary. Aren’t such crises what politics is for?

Many on the right say no. The state has no business judging its citizens’ household arrangements, they say. We don’t want politicians declaring the number of babies being born is too low or the number of single women is too high.

If there are things that are distorting people’s decision-making, then maybe we can tweak those, some libertarians admit. If young people are putting off marriage because of crushing college debt, then maybe we need some form of relief. If families can’t afford housing big enough for their desired number of children, then maybe we need better housing policy.

But family policy? No. As long as no one is preventing people from marrying and having kids, then government should stay out of it. Let everyone make their own choices, and things will work themselves out.

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Helen Andrews is a senior editor at The American Conservative and author of Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster.

@herandrews