The Family in Global Transition

By Gordon L. Anderson | Go to book overview

Chapter 19
THE FUTURE OF THE FAMILY IN AN AGE OF CHANGE

Jerry E. Pournelle


Family Life Today

Family life is the distinguishing characteristic of the human condition, and this holds true in nearly all human societies. Obviously there are exceptions. The Ottoman Empire at one time rested on a celibate order of slave soldiers, and it would not be too much to say that Christian Western Civilization was saved by the monastic military orders of Caltrava and Santiago during the great jihad centuries following the founding of Islam. The point is that these are exceptions. Both Christian and Islamic societies are and always have been organized as families. Today the similarities of family life throughout world civilization -- Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or officially atheist, are far more striking than their differences.

Thomas Sowell in his marvelous new book The Vision of the Anointed,1 notes that despite misleading popular statistics, the family remains fairly strong. Many writers are fond of saying that half of all marriages end in divorce. Depending on the year, the number of divorces may well be half as large as the number of marriages that year; but then in a given year there may be half as many deaths as there are births, and that doesn't mean half the people died that year. The marriages counted in a year are those that happened that year; the divorces are from marriages that took place over decades.

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