For John, BLUF: The path out of poverty is not just a job, although that is a start. Nothing to see here; just move along.
On the last day of June International New York Times Opinion writer David Brooks wroke "The Next Culture War". Here is the lede:
Christianity is in decline in the United States. The share of Americans who describe themselves as Christians and attend church is dropping. Evangelical voters make up a smaller share of the electorate. Members of the millennial generation are detaching themselves from religious institutions in droves.I was ready to stop reading at that point. For one thing, Christianity has been in decline since soon after the Puritans arrived, but with periodic revivals. But, for some reason, I pressed on.
And here are, for me, the two key paragraphs:
We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed. Millions of kids live in stressed and fluid living arrangements. Many communities have suffered a loss of social capital. Many young people grow up in a sexual and social environment rendered barbaric because there are no common norms. Many adults hunger for meaning and goodness, but lack a spiritual vocabulary to think things through.It sums up the problems we have and a way forward. Note the use of the term "social capital". There are segments of our society where "social capital" is in short supply and we need to rebuild it in those locations. It is more than providing people a job, although that is critical. People need the social capital that helps them capitalize on that job. We have been slowly dissipating that social capital since the 1960s. We need to reverse that trend, and do it without losing gains in freedom for individuals.
Social conservatives could be the people who help reweave the sinews of society. They already subscribe to a faith built on selfless love. They can serve as examples of commitment. They are equipped with a vocabulary to distinguish right from wrong, what dignifies and what demeans. They already, but in private, tithe to the poor and nurture the lonely.
And I liked this paragraph:
This culture war is more Albert Schweitzer and Dorothy Day than Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham; more Salvation Army than Moral Majority. It’s doing purposefully in public what social conservatives already do in private.Yes, we live in the now, but we should be thinking about the future. Part of that future is the question of the eternal. And Dorothy Day provides a good guide. She finally closed the door on the Father of her daughter, Mr Forster Batterham, after he said he couldn't abide her becoming a Catholic and having their daughter baptized. They were not married.
Ms Dorothy Day and her implementation of her faith made her a hero to my Mother, and to me.
Hat tip to Memeorandum.
Regards — Cliff