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their education and enter into high-income,

Red Families v. high-status jobs before beginning families.

These high status women are likely to get
Blue Families married and stay married, which further
enhances the family’s financial wealth and
their children’s life-chances.
by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
Cahn and Carbone, both academics
Two academics stoke the culture wars by specializing in aspects of family law, leave
claiming that blue states have the correct no doubt that they approve of this “blue state
recipe for making families. script”. If their only point were to encourage
later marriage and childbearing, their book
This widely-discussed book seems to be would be unobjectionable. They could join
about the differences between red states and the legions of abstinence educators, religious
blue states, between socially conservative leaders, school teachers and parents who
and socially liberal America. In fact, it is have been trying to convey that message to
about the differences between college the young.
educated women and everyone else. You
could say this book is the “soft power” What is objectionable is that their data
version of class warfare. The rich are leaves no doubt that it is not “maturity” or
deliberately making war on the poor, not to greater self-command that makes the later
expropriate their material resources, but to marriages of the well-educated possible. The
establish social hegemony. They want elites rely on contraception, backed up by
complete social approval and legal support the unapologetic use of abortion, to establish
for a lifestyle from which they benefit and their high-status late-marriage life-styles.
which harms others.
Cahn and Carbone plainly disapprove of
I was supposed to have written this review “red state” advocates of traditional morality,
long ago. The time-consuming nature of who are more concerned with marriage than
unpacking the illogic and obfuscation in this age per se as the prerequisite for
supposedly scientific tract is not the only childbearing. “Rather than ground family
reasons for the delay. This book made me so morality in investment in higher education
angry I could barely read it. and disciplined childbearing, these
advocates continue to celebrate the unity of
The essence of the Cahn and Carbone’s sex, marriage and reproduction. The reward
version of class difference, which they in this system, particularly for those who
wrongly attribute to “red states” and “blue may never reach the enhanced status that
states”, is delayed age at first marriage. comes with dual college-educated earners, is
Later marriage allows women to complete family life itself.”
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse • 663 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road Suite 222 San Marcos CA 92078 • email: • 760/295-9278
©2007 No part of this document may be reproduced or disseminated in any way without the expressed written consent of the
Ruth Institute.
As a highly educated woman who abstinence education and parental
nonetheless “celebrates the unity of sex, notification are, admittedly, impotent
marriage and reproduction” I found passages weapons. Advocates of an organic holistic
like these hard to read. Carbone and Cahn view of sex, marriage and reproduction have
are implicitly accusing us of opposing few weapons remaining in their armory. The
“higher education” and “disciplined federal government picked a fight with the
childbearing”. In fact, there is nothing traditional sexual culture and forced us to
“disciplined” about the child-bearing of the bring knives to their gunfight.
upper classes. They are simply willing to use
abortion to kill off the babies that arrive too But Cahn and Carbone turn a blind eye to all
early for the script. Contraception, not this, maintaining that abstinence education
discipline, allows them to be sexually active and parental notification for abortion are to
and still postpone marriage. blame for the problems of the underclass. If
only they had more contraception and more
And we do not oppose higher education, as abortions, these unfortunate people would
they seem to imply. We simply recognize postpone marriage, go to law school and be
what Cahn and Carbone themselves
recognize in the above quotation: not
everyone has the aptitude or inclination to
go to graduate school, and absolutely no
public policy will change this basic fact.
They know that the sexual revolution isn’t
working for the lower socio-economic
classes, yet their book drips with
condescension and contempt for those who
resist its continual march through society.

Cahn and Carbone direct their fire at

advocates of abstinence education and just like “us”.
parental notification for abortion. They do
not seem to realize that the early Let me add a few facts that they overlook.
sexualization of the young and the decline in First, over half of women who come for an
parental authority are a large part of the abortion say that they were using
problem. The combination of Supreme contraception during the month they
Court decisions and federal promotion of conceived. Second, nearly half of all women
contraception education amounts to a who come for an abortion report that they
complete government take-over of sexual have already had at least one previous
culture. Against this and the social abortion. Since they have obviously been to
disorganization of the lower classes, an abortion clinic before, someone could
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse • 663 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road Suite 222 San Marcos CA 92078 • email: • 760/295-9278
©2007 No part of this document may be reproduced or disseminated in any way without the expressed written consent of the
Ruth Institute.
have told them anything they needed to stuff.” I said to her, “You all need to get
know about contraception. married. You can help him manage his
money and save some of it. You’d both be
The most logical conclusion to draw from way ahead.” I’m thinking about the
these facts is that we have probably gone as statistics: married men earn more, save
far as we can go down the road of handing more, and spend more on others and less on
out birth control. We are trying to use a themselves. She said, with a grim look on
technological solution to what is plainly a her face, “I’m working on it.” The
moral problem. Cahn and Carbone are implication was clear: she had been trying to
simply illogical to suggest that “changing get him to commit to marriage for some
the subject” from abortion to contraception time.
has even a remote chance of being helpful.
While I was taking a walk, I met a man who
But really, the most appalling thing about was resting from a bike ride. He had one
this very appalling book is the insularity of shoe off and was massaging his foot. Turns
the authors. Cahn and Carbone simply have out, he had a nerve injury and couldn’t put
no clue what the actual lives of real people any weight on his foot. He rides the bike
look like. I kept asking myself, “Have they every day along the Arkansas River for
ever met an HVAC repairman? Do they exercise. I struck up a conversation with him
know any home-schooling mothers of eight about this devastating injury and his
or nine? Have they ever encountered a recovery process. I asked him if he lived
grandmother with full-time childcare with anybody. I’m thinking about the
responsibilities, because her daughter is statistics: people who live alone (married or
preoccupied with her newest boyfriend? Do not) have a longer recovery process from
they have any idea that women have babies illnesses and injuries. “No, this happened
for all kinds of reasons that contraception two months after I got divorced. It was a
and government policy will never touch?” forced divorce. I didn’t want it. I put up with
everything she dished out, because of the
I am writing this in the Tulsa, Oklahoma kids. But she found herself a rich old guy.”
Airport, after helping my son set up his first I’m thinking about more statistics: the vast
apartment to go to welding school, in this majority of divorces take place against the
reddest of red states. During my trip, I had a wishes of one party, are initiated by women
chat with the cashier at Wal-Mart who told and do not involve any form of domestic
me her boyfriend makes good money as a violence.
welder. “But he travels from job to job. It is
hard on our relationship. We live together. I This is the world that the elites have created
don’t have to pay for nothing, he pays all the for the lower classes: a world of loneliness,
bills. But he don’t have nothing either. He mutual suspicion and uncertainty.
spends all the money on fancy TV’s and Contraception wouldn’t have helped either
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse • 663 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road Suite 222 San Marcos CA 92078 • email: • 760/295-9278
©2007 No part of this document may be reproduced or disseminated in any way without the expressed written consent of the
Ruth Institute.
of these people. In fact, without After reading the entire book, that is still my
contraception, the Wal-Mart checker would question. Have they no shame?
almost certainly not be living with the
boyfriend who spends everything he earns This article was originally published at
and won’t commit. on September 1, 2010.

Cahn and Carbone refuse to acknowledge Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. is an

that their preferred policies and lifestyles economist and the Founder and President of
have greatly diminished the possibilities for the Ruth Institute, a nonprofit educational
a high quality family life for working class organization devoted to bringing hope and
people. They have nothing to offer them, encouragement for lifelong married love.
and they know it. But educated women still She is also the author of Love and
get to have the Leave it to Beaver lifestyle Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a
they denigrate in their classrooms and that Village and Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long
they have done so much to destroy in the Love in a Hook-Up World.
rest of the culture. They just get started at
age 35 instead of age 18. This article is published by
Jennifer Roback Morse,
“The college educated, who postpone and
childrearing until the parents achieve a under a Creative Commons license. You
measure of financial self-sufficiency and may republish it or translate it free of charge
emotional maturity, have become more with attribution for non-commercial
likely to marry and less likely to divorce purposes following these guidelines. If you
than the rest of the population, with two- teach at a university we ask that your
parent families that remain intact, replicating department make a donation. Commercial
the statistics that existed before no-fault media must contact us for permission and
divorce, the pill and legalized abortion.” fees. Some articles on this site are published
under different terms.
When I encountered this paragraph, I wrote
in the margin, “Have these people no
shame?” How dare Cahn and Carbone
criticize the beleaguered and increasingly
marginalized social conservatives who strive
to bring back some semblance of structure to
the lives of ordinary people? How dare the
life-style left wine and dine these authors,
and, with a straight face, claim to be
“progressives” who care about the fate of
the less fortunate?
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse • 663 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road Suite 222 San Marcos CA 92078 • email: • 760/295-9278
©2007 No part of this document may be reproduced or disseminated in any way without the expressed written consent of the
Ruth Institute.