Reviews > Books

Save the children

"Save the children" Continued...

Issue: "The waiting game," March 22, 2008

WORLD: You thoroughly criticize the views of feminist Susan Okin, but you support (if it could be used only by traditional families) a proposal she has made to reduce the economic vulnerability of many mothers and children. What is this "shared income" proposal?

TUBBS: In homes with a traditional "division of labor," where the mother is a full-time homemaker, Okin argued that the mother should have a legal claim to half of her husband's earnings. That is, the husband's employer should be legally required to endorse his paycheck to both him and his wife, as a way of recognizing the social value of mothering and homemaking (and, as noted, to reduce the economic vulnerability of married women and children).

WORLD: Should cultural conservatives favor such a proposal?

TUBBS: It is an interesting proposal, and cultural conservatives could endorse it. But I doubt that such a proposal will succeed in any legislature. Today, many women, especially those with high-paying jobs outside the home, are likely to see it as unnecessary.

WORLD: How can voluntary religious exercises in public schools have a morally freeing effect on children?

TUBBS: In the West, religious observance has long been thought to promote freedom. Recall the words in the Gospel of John (8:23): "If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth and it will make you free." This, again, is freedom in the positive sense. So when the Supreme Court says that voluntary religious exercises in public schools have an "indirectly coercive" effect, the Court is only telling part of the story. Religious observance helps many people to resist potentially destructive passions and impulses and therefore promotes their freedom.

WORLD: Now that our society has come so far in emphasizing individual freedom, do you think the genie can be put back in the bottle? Do you think it will be?

TUBBS: If I thought that change was impossible, I would not have written the book. Will adults in our society restrict their own freedom to promote children's welfare? Will the most important political institutions cooperate? American liberals have become so preoccupied with rights for adults that they cannot be expected to change course anytime soon. So in all likelihood, this struggle to promote children's welfare will be carried on by many different people who do not identify themselves with contemporary liberalism.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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