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Modern Family Progressivism

Summary:
In a recent New York Times’ column, Thomas Edsall defends progressives against Attorney General William Barr and other social conservatives who charge them with wanton destruction of the family. Edsall is right to call out Barr and others for “marketing apocalyptic hogwash” to get Trump reelected, but his argument concedes too much to social conservatives.  ...

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In a recent New York Times’ column, Thomas Edsall defends progressives against Attorney General William Barr and other social conservatives who charge them with wanton destruction of the family. Edsall is right to call out Barr and others for “marketing apocalyptic hogwash” to get Trump reelected, but his argument concedes too much to social conservatives. 

According to Edsall, “liberals are as deeply disturbed by familial dysfunction as conservatives...” This isn’t saying much because liberals and conservatives don’t agree on what is and isn’t dysfunctional when it comes to families. Social conservatives are particularly disturbed by cohabitation, divorce, same-sex relationships, children being raised by unmarried parents, and women who have children without a male spouse or partner. In other words, they are mostly concerned about the structure of family living arrangements and their legal status (who lives with who, what genitals they have, and whether or not they’re married).

Liberals are much more concerned about the quality of family relationships. The familial dysfunctions they are most deeply disturbed by include violence, ill-treatment, and various forms of inequality within the family, as well as unfair public and private discrimination against certain types of families based on their structure. Unlike conservatives, relatively few liberals today view cohabitation, divorce, same-sex relationships, or unmarried women who have children as immoral or dysfunctional. 

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