The Ricochet Podcast
Episode 118: The Marriage Thing

Guests: AEI President Arthur Brooks and NR's Mona Charen.
May 11, 2012

This week, we’re all over the marriage thing (well, not literally). Then, American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks on his new book The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise, and the role of government in society, and yes, yet another dog story. We wrap up with National Review’s Mona Charen on culture, working conservative women, and the role of family. Finally, shout to Ricochet member Rachel Lu for her post Unshackling the Young – it’s the Ricochet Podcast Member Post of The Week. Rachel, your mug is on the way. 

Music from this week’s episode:

Here’s the direct link to this week’s episode (but use our new audio player above), however the best way to hear the podcast is to subscribe! Visit our Feedburner page for a number of other subscription options. Or better yet, use Stitcher.

Thanks, EJHill

Looking for an audiobook? Get one for free from Audible on us. Click here

The Ricochet Podcast is proudly sponsored by Encounter Books. This week’s pick is No Matter What…They’ll Call This Book Racist: How our Fear of Talking Honestly About Race Hurts Us All by Harry Stein. Available for $16.31 at EncounterBooks.com and Amazon.com.

  1. Barkha Herman

    What happened to Rob’s Gay Marriage story?  Down twinkles!

  2. Fredösphere

    For what it’s worth, every time James said S E X in his Grandpa Simpson voice, I saw the word in my mind’s eye in the Wood font:

  3. Leporello

    James’s rant around minute 10 or 11 was just brilliant.

  4. James Lileks
    C

    Thanks, Leporello! <blush>

  5. Astonishing

    Thank you, Mona, for pointing out that the dismantling of marriage has had and will continue to have direct practical electoral consequences because unmarried women vote overwhelming  for welfare-state politicians.

    I would elaborate with the obvious observation that, whereas welfare-state policies both encourage and thrive upon the creation of Julias who feel themselves dependent upon government, healthy families (which begin with stable marriages) prevent dependency.

    No wonder the left wants to diminish family. In numberless ways, the family is the counter and cure to the expansive oppressive leftist welfare state.

    Apart from moral and economic effects, encouraging traditional marriage and strong families is good practical politics for conservatives. Conservatives who support same-sex marriage, which undermines marriage and family, commit slow but steady political suicide.

    Listen up libertarians, if you aren’t fond of the state, you better learn to love the family.

    One last random thought. Mona’s comments about how the so-called liberation of women has misdirected masculinity toward irresponsibility reminded me of this definition of a “sensitive modern male”:  He gives you a ride to the abortion clinic, and is less than ten minutes late to pick you up when it’s over.

  6. Mona Charen
    C

    Hi All,

    I had such a great time on the podcast! Thanks so much to you all. 

    Just want to clarify one point: I said that women want to be taken care of. This isn’t to imply that women are too dependent or weak. No, women need to be cared for by someone when they are themselves pregnant or nursing or caring for children or elderly relatives. Our society — led by those brilliant feminists — came up with the genius notion that it represented a step forward for women for them to be saddled with all of the above responsibilities and a full-time job and no husband. Great. Thanks a whole helluva lot for that.

    Kudos to James L and all stay-at-home dads too. I would just add that I’ve never known a stay at home dad who didn’t have a wife. But I know all too many women whose only spouse is Uncle Sam and they are pretty miserable.

    Also, I’m linking to the column I mentioned about the differences between 2012 and 1980 as an antidote to excessive optimism about the election. 

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/297099/carter-redux-mona-charen

  7. tabula rasa

    Arthur Brooks for VP.  I’d pay serious money to see him debate Uncle Joe Biden.

  8. doc molloy

    Great show! Arthur Brooks was great and Mona was a warm delight with great insights. And I have to say, James, you flew with wondrous wings. I, too, am in your shoes but sans children. I agree with you totally. A joy to listen too. Keep it up..

  9. Peter Meza

    The comment about liberal vs conservative family really resonated with me.  If you grew up in the 1960s in the northeast like I did, everyone seems to share the same liberal mindset.  If politics is brought up at Holiday dinners it devolves into being shouted down by everyone else in my family.  George Bush, blah blah blah.  There are so many ingrained assumptions about unions (good), George Bush (bad), the rich (bad), the successful (bad), and many many other topics, that a political discussion is impossible.  The American dream, “the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work” (courtesy of Wikipedia) was not discussed at all at my home growing up.  The pinnacle of success was a good union job.  What is your Thanksgiving dinner like??

  10. Rob Long
    C
    Barkha Herman: What happened to Rob’s Gay Marriage story?  Down twinkles! · 5 hours ago

    Sorry!  Will have to wait until a podcast, I think.  It’s a stemwinder….

  11. ParisParamus

    <withdrawn>

  12. Casey Way

    Listening now, fantastic podcast. Been reading Mrs. Charen for a while now and so happy she was on the podcast. The conversation fit all to well with the discussions by guest contributor Kantor.

    Another point on marriage, in line with rearing and raising children, isn’t marriage as it was understood, the only social institution that can itself create or conceive new citizens? For that reason, there is an interest by the state in looking at data and studies that identify the best practices, positive environments, and outcomes, not to mandate or enforce but support. Is that off-base?

  13. dogsbody

    The Road to Freedom:  it’s got everything you want except Dorothy Lamour in a sarong.”

    That transported me instantly back to a childhood memory of my Dad excitedly tuning in the TV to show me The Road to Morocco.  For a moment I was 9 years old and laughing along with him again.  Thanks, James.

  14. Sister
    Leporello: James’s rant around minute 10 or 11 was just brilliant. · 5 hours ago

    I don’t remember when I’ve laughed so hard. Thank you, James.

  15. ChristmasBeard

    You guys get me every time. I’m listening along on my iphone while working around the house and I hear the chime for a new e-mail. I go to check. No new e-mail.

  16. Bereket Kelile

    I just listened to the podcast and I have to say it’s probably one of the most important ones I have heard. As much as I hate to admit I had written off the bumper music as hopeless. Holding on for the first minute was hard but bearable. And then, what’d ya know? I hear what sounds like Al Green reverberating from the iPad and I’m in disbelief. Once the shock wore off I realized there is reason to be hopeful after all. 

    So, apologies. Sorry I doubted you. I promise to always maintain a certain amount of optimism about the music selection.

  17. Israel P.

    [never mind]

  18. Astonishing

    In Mona’s article, there’s one stat that overwhelmes:

    In 1983, fewer than a third of households received a monthly government check. By 2011, 49 percent were getting a government subsidy.

    We’re doomed . . .

    unless we can quickly figure out a way to break the dependcy addiction.

    Unfortunately, Romney has neither the principles nor the backbone to confront the problem. His “tender preference” relativism demonstrates his incapacity to locate, much less to adhere to, the right principle if to do so might offend.

    Thanks to Romney, the same-sex marriage debate is now nothing more than an argument about preferences: Some people prefer chocolate. Some prefer stawberry.

    We are doomed!

  19. Jimmy Carter

    Dr. Brooks should be a regular Here.

    “We have a fairness crises.” How He turned that in a few sentences was sheer brilliance. I applauded.

    Beautiful podcast, beginning to end.

    An aside: Rob, why do You refer to the legislation as “anti gay marriage” and not “pro marriage,” or “pro sanctity,” or “pro tradition?”

  20. Carbon Creek Visitor

    Still catching up, just finished the “Andrew” podcast. More Star Trek discussions (The Original Series – ToS) with equal measure of Monty Python please.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In