We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
America has already once made a change on the scale of that which is happening now. That was when it transformed itself from the rural and agrarian society of the founding era — which we call America 1.0 — to the urban and industrial society that peaked in the mid-20th century — which we call America 2.0. That earlier transition, from roughly 1860 to 1920, was more painful than most people think. Yet the transformed, industrial America became the wonder of the world.
The American political and economic regime now in crisis was built for the world of America 2.0. Today, we are in the midst of a dramatic transition.
The American political and economic regime now in crisis was built for the world of America 2.0. Today, we are in the midst of a dramatic transition to a new technological and political configuration — which we call America 3.0. Institutions that once looked permanent are cracking at the foundations. Technology will drive the transition, and the shape of future technology can only be known in broad outline.
Most importantly, the cultural foundation of America, based on its unique type of family life, will remain intact. This is the continuous thread linking each of the three “versions” of America. Our deeply rooted orientation toward personal and economic freedom will allow us to dismantle America 2.0 and build a better, freer, and more prosperous America 3.0 in its place.
feebs, they do attempt to answer such things. You may find them not entirely convincing, but they have devoted time and thought to it, not just made up stuff or followed conventional wisdom.
As to that "American family life" aspect, I don't think they spent as much time on that as on other cultural forces. What americans think of as the regular-ol' nuclear family that everyone has had for thousands of years, with other societies just extending it a bit, is in fact not common at all. The Traditional Family isn't all that traditional*. It is narrowly Anglo-Saxon (and even they were much more tribal and extended than we are) and I don't know if it will hold under new strains. (Key phrase to look up: Hajnal Line.) It doesn't seem to be, does it?
*A lot of what we evangelicals call "traditional" is in fact quite new in history. Our middle-American ways of worshiping, interpreting scripture, governing ourselves, marrying, working - they belong more to great-grandpa's time than to long history. America really was a new thing. In fact, it has been three or four new things (though Canada, Australia, and NZ have considerable similarity. Wonder why? Heh.)
Assistant VIllage Idiot
Your point about the our "traditions" is extremely well taken. Our current situation is not anything even approaching the "normal human condition". It is a few generations old and has been pulling apart at the seams for the past 2 generations (at least).
Our current "middle class traditions" may provide significant help to some in the transition but it will not save the whole.
Yep and there's lots of forces including the official policies and unofficial actions taken by government to further aid in the neutering or outright distruction of the traditional nuclear family. This is great for government and authoritarian types as the distruction of the family leads to insecurity and instability that the government can step in to 'solve'. The more government acts to 'solve' these issues they created the more liberties we lose. It is a very effective and self reinforcing method.
The only way out I see is some sort of painful societal crash and from the ashes of that crash may emerge something more human.
Also, we had the following passage in the book, pertinent to this discussion. Bottom line, we can only make an educated guess about the future, and this is our guess.
Admittedly, we are in midst of rapid and even chaotic change in family life in America. By many objective measures, and by simple observation, the world has been turned upside down in recent decades. The birth control pill, a transformative technology on the scale of the steam engine, was a cultural supernova whose blast is still ongoing, and whose effects are still impossible to estimate. Effective antibiotics, which reduced the risk and virulence of venereal disease, had a related and compounding effect. Other changes include:
◆ the liberation of women from back-breaking domestic work because of the electrification of the home and advances in power machinery,
◆ the move of many women out of the house and into the cash economy,
◆ the dissolution of traditional family life,
◆ the legality and widespread use of abortion,
◆ the sweeping impact of no-fault divorce,
◆ the effect of fragmented families on several generations of American children,
◆ the social acceptance of single motherhood,
◆ the appearance of a political and cultural movement demanding civil rights and marriage for gay people, and
◆ the rise of ubiquitous pornography on the Internet.
These and other developments have changed or undermined the family as it was known to Americans two or three generations ago. Each of these phenomena is apparently at odds with our claim that the Anglo-American style of nuclear family will continue to be a major determinant of culture and institutions in America.
Although no one can know the future, we speculate that the momentum built up over many centuries is nonetheless likely to continue for some time to come. In foreign countries political attitudes are still shaped by old family patterns that are no longer as pervasive as they were. People’s expectations are shaped by upbringing, language, institutions, and unconscious patterns of behavior that take centuries to form. Remarkably the gay rights movement is currently focused on participating in marriage, and the type of marriage they seem to want is a nuclear-type family.
It is too early to say where the many novel developments we are living through now will ultimately lead. We are in the early decades of changes so massive, not only in family life but in technology and politics, that no one can possibly predict how it will all play out. But although there will continue to be changes to the American family, we do not expect to see a total break with the past. Our attitudes and expectations are still shaped by the momentum of centuries, and that will almost certainly continue to be true for a long time to come. We do not anticipate a basic change in cultural attitudes and expectations among the majority of people, at least not soon.
Furthermore, the prospect of a reassertion or revival of family life along more traditional American lines, either generally or among self-selecting communities, cannot be ruled out in the decades ahead. Patterns of radical change followed by partial retrenchment have happened before and may do so again. Further, more traditional families, and more religiously observant ones, tend to have more children than others. As a result, more traditional families may inherit the Earth over a few generations through a steady demographic shift.