One need not be a fire-breathing social conservative to note that the American family is in some difficulties at the moment: Marriage rates have collapsed among the poor and the lower middle class, half of all children born to woman under 30 are born outside of marriage, and the American birth rate has dropped below replacement level at a time when we need all the younger workers we can get. Overall, the post-sexual revolution landscape is divided between a “blue” culture that depends on high abortion rates to maintain its social equilibrium, and a “red” culture where abortion rates are lower but out-of-wedlock birth rates are correspondingly higher, and divorce rates are higher as well.
There is, however, a notable exception to these patterns. The state of Utah has one of the lowest abortion rates in the countryand one of the lowest rates of out-of-wedlock births. It has a high marriage rate, a relatively low divorce rate, and the highest birth rate (despite a low teen pregnancy rate) of any state. An America that looked more like Utah would have more intact families, less child poverty, fewer abortions — and, for that matter, a better fiscal outlook as the Baby Boomers retire.
Ah, but consider, says Ross, the irony of history inherent in Frum’s observation:
In this universe, by contrast, many of our most earnest and high-minded social reformers look at Mormon sexual culture — an island of stable, high-functioning families in a sea of social dissolution — and see the same thing that polygamy’s 19th century critics saw: A society whose definition of wedlock is a “relic of barbarism,” destined to be gradually undercut or overthrown.
Go, Mormons, go.