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Yenor's Family Politics deep, thorough

November 7th, 2011 by admin

The declining modern family, if statistics have any weight, is a well known phenomenon. Additionally, it is no secret that politics have had their say in the issue. Enter Scott Yenor's recently released Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought, reviewed this month in the Claremont Review of Books.

THE STATISTICS ON THE DECLINE OF THE American family are by now all too familiar: the rate of out-of-wedlock births in the United States stands at 40% (in the African-American community, nearly 70%); divorce rates at 43%; and co-habitation rates have doubled among 30- to 44-year-olds in the past 10 years. Though the divorce rate has ticked downward, contemporary trends in family life are hardly encouraging.

As he describes them, our culture wars over the family pit the entire liberal tradition, from Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, and Mill to modern feminism and even such neoconservatives as James Q. Wilson, against the moral and religious teachings of the Catholic Church. Relying on Pope John Paul II's metaphysical and religious arguments is perfectly understandable given Yenor's contention that modern political thought has had the effect, and in many cases the intention, of undermining the natural and conventional foundations of the family.

Scott Yenor's new book, Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought, is a philosophic reflection on the troubles of the modern family. In several hundred pages he covers a wide range of the most important modern philosophic, political, social scientific, and religious works on the family. Few treatments of the foundational problems of the family are this thorough or deep.

Read the full review online here.

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