Dear David Brooks: I Needed That Laugh. Thanks!

Dear David Brooks: I Needed That Laugh. Thanks! June 30, 2015

Paris_Tuileries_Garden_Facepalm_statue David Brooks has a hilarious piece in The New York Times today.  (H/T James Taranto, “Best of the Web.”) Arguing that it’s not constructive to have culture wars, he offer some advice to Christians –

We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed. Millions of kids live in stressed and fluid living arrangements. Many communities have suffered a loss of social capital. Many young people grow up in a sexual and social environment rendered barbaric because there are no common norms. Many adults hunger for meaning and goodness, but lack a spiritual vocabulary to think things through.

His own argument belies the havoc of the sexual revolution. But apparently we shouldn’t talk about root causes. Instead we should fix everything without attending to the foundation…which, by the way, has something to do with sexual mores –

Social conservatives could be the people who help reweave the sinews of society. They already subscribe to a faith built on selfless love. They can serve as examples of commitment. They are equipped with a vocabulary to distinguish right from wrong, what dignifies and what demeans. They already, but in private, tithe to the poor and nurture the lonely. The defining face of social conservatism could be this: Those are the people who go into underprivileged areas and form organizations to help nurture stable families. Those are the people who build community institutions in places where they are sparse. Those are the people who can help us think about how economic joblessness and spiritual poverty reinforce each other. Those are the people who converse with us about the transcendent in everyday life.

“Those people” are Christians and other social conservatives. He tasks us with helping to nurture stable families. But…apparently we can’t talk about what is a stable family and what sex has to do with that. Meanwhile, The Atlantic just published an article on the largest mental hospital that just happens to be Cook County Jail. Nneka Jones Tapia, a clinical psychologist who now serves as the executive director of the facility commented:

We’re re-teaching them things they learned in their family unit because a lot of these individuals come from dysfunctional families, unfortunately. What you see in correctional institutions are, more often than not, [symptoms] of a larger problem. And then you go into the communities and it’s single-parent homes, no-parent homes—it’s tough to teach your children when you’re not there. So we’re going back and teaching them those skills.”

Brooks acknowledges the crisis in the family, thinks that Christians are uniquely poised to help the situation, but he just doesn’t want us to talk about the situations that create good or bad familial situations. This exercise in absurdity has given me something to laugh about. Thanks, David! And I have to laugh or else I’ll cry. Image source: Wiki Commons.

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