Why libertarians should care about the breakdown of the family

Stephen Baskerville explains how the breakdown of marriage leads to bigger government and less liberty.


Unmarried women and single mothers (the main abortion constituency) are more affluent and better-educated than two decades ago.  They are also more politicized and comprise Obama’s most committed and vocal supporters, having voted for him by 70%.

As with many measures designed to weaken the family, no general public clamor preceded the move to nationalize medicine, apart from a few vocal constituencies.  One of the biggest was single women.  “American voters in general may shy away from ‘radical’ steps such as importing a Canadian-style (health care) system,” the liberal polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner reported some years ago.  “Unmarried women, however, embrace such a powerful step.”

[…]Sadly, many unmarried women live — willingly or not — to some degree in dependency on the state. And for single, middle-class women whose incomes disqualify them for Medicaid, health care is the most expensive cost.

[…]Statistics now reveal that welfare has been a powerful force behind the break-up of the family in low-income families. Now, in the middle class, we see the breakdown coming largely through divorce and the “liberated” lifestyles to which much of it can be attributed. Yet our growing allegiance to an ever-increasing culture of divorce now demands ever-expanding “services,” such as government medicine.

So, public medicine, like all welfare, facilitates family dissolution. And the breakdown of the family in turn creates a constituency pushing for more welfare, fostering a vicious circle of government growth and social decay.  It just so happens that all of this also builds electoral support for the party that enacts it.

Libertarians need to be practical: you need social conservatives and you ought to be actively promoting traditional marriage.

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