Family: Abortion, AIDS, Pornography, and School Choice
For too long, the traditional family has been ignored, or worse, equated with alternative lifestyles. The social revolution of the 1960s and 1970s heralded a type of "do your own thing," individualism, and unusual alliances. Business interests exploited heightened individuality to market the material things of the "good life." BMWs, condos, European vacations, second homes--none of these things are wrong in themselves, unless, that is, they become the organizing principles of life.
Counterpoised was the individualism of the social reformer--those who hugged trees more than their children--that is, if there were any children. The solemnity of marriage and children somehow got in the way of living together, professional career development, or the latest environmental cause. The sexual revolution, too, lessened the likelihood of children or parental commitment. The contraceptive society came to mean the abortion society.
When family concerns were raised by policy makers in the 1970s, it was not to extol the virtues of the traditional family, but to make the traditional family feel guilty for the increasing social dysfunction of others who shunned family responsibility. Candidate Reagan said simply: enough already. While the initial years of the Reagan presidency sometimes appeared naggingly preoccupied with military defense and other nonsocial issues, Edwin Meese in the White House, and later at Justice, kept a careful eye on social issues. Soon after Meese came to the Department of Justice, Meese reminded us that "[c]hanges in laws, policy, and values have, often inadvertently, tended to undermine the family."1 The President reaffirmed those words in his 1986 State of the Union address, and subsequently directed the Domestic Policy Group, chaired