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The illegitimacy rate in America has reached 30 percent of all live births, thus ex­ceeding the 25 percent black illegitimacy rate in the 1960s that sparked Moynihan'sprophetic warnings about the breakdown of the black family. Illegitimate births among lower-class whites have risen so dramatically that a new white underclass is beginning to emerge. We can thus predict the same kind of social breakdown among working-class whites (increase in crime, drug abuse, unemployment, un­manageable schools) that has characterized the black inner city. The solution, which can be justified on both ethical and social grounds, is to revitalize cultural constraints against illegitimacy. We should begin by ending all economic support for single mothers, forcing them to seek assistance from family, boyfriends, or charities. Three good results will follow: (1) more adults will be involved in rais­ing the child; (2) many single mothers will decide against keeping infants and offer them for adoption; and (3) angry families will reawaken the social stigma against illegitimacy. To make the solution workable, we must ease adoption laws and be prepared to spend lavishly on orphanages. Finally, we must increase the rewards of marriage through restructured tax codes and reexamination of divorce laws and other regulations that undermine the social importance of marriage. Although this approach seems drastic, it merely returns our nation to the policies that prevailed up through John Kennedy's presidency. Unless we return to the values of virtue and temperance, the social catastrophe that has undermined black culture will sweep through white culture also, thus destroying our nation. (253 words)


We don't want to pretend that these summaries were easy to write. They weren't. Murray's argument is quite difficult to summarize because he doesn't al­ways make the links between parts explicit. Moreover, some readers might fault our summaries for overemphasizing some aspects of the essay while neglecting others. Such differences are to be expected in the absence of prominently stated transitions and other structural markers.



Date: 2015-02-03; view: 106

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