David Brooks Thinks Sweden Is More Chaotic than Syria

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Written by Shawn Fremstad   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 11:15

What I've called the "disorganized single-parent" meme reappeared earlier this week in David Brooks' column: "There are very few [conservatives] willing to use government to actively intervene in chaotic neighborhoods, even when 40 percent of American kids are born out of wedlock."

As in other appearances, the basic formulation of the meme is as follows: (Women + Children) - Men = Disorganization = Chaos.

Here are some other countries in which chaos reigns because 40 percent or more of children are born to parents who are not married:

% of Children Born to Unmarried Parents in 2010
Iceland 64.3
Estonia 59.1
Slovenia 55.7
France 55.0
Norway 54.8
Sweden 54.2
Bulgaria 54.1
France 54.1
Denmark 47.3
United Kingdom 46.9
Belgium 46.2
Netherlands 44.3
Latvia 44.1
Portugal 41.3
Finland 41.1
Hungary 40.8
Czech Republic 40.3
Austria 40.1

By contrast, in a more orderly and less chaotic society like Syria, marriage is valued so highly that the share of children born to unmarried parents is nearly 0 percent.

That said, the only data on nonmarital childbirth I could find for Syria was from the 1990s. I've heard things have gotten more disorganized there lately. If this is the case, it must be because they let things slip on the marriage front. Memo to Syrian conservatives: take David Brooks' advice, you need to be more "willing to use government to actively intervene in chaotic neighborhoods"! If you don't act soon, it will be too late and you'll end up like Sweden.

Tags: gender | marriage