If Marriage Collapses, So Does America

That headline isn’t nearly as hysterical as it might sound. To wit:

In “A Nation of Singles,” his cover story for the Weekly Standard, Jonathan Last quotes Princeton professor Robert George:

As Robert George put it after the election, limited government “cannot be maintained where the marriage culture collapses and families fail to form or easily dissolve. Where these things happen, the health, education, and welfare functions of the family will have to be undertaken by someone, or some institution, and that will sooner or later be the government.”

Marriage is what makes the entire Western project–liberalism, the dignity of the human person, the free market, and the limited, democratic state–possible. George continues, “The two greatest institutions ever devised for lifting people out of poverty and enabling them to live in dignity are the market economy and the institution of marriage. These institutions will, in the end, stand or fall together.”

There are all kinds of profound implications here, but shall we start with just one?

Anybody who thinks Republicans should shut up about social issues–that we could fix the economy and the country by electing libertarians who just don’t care about the institution of marriage–has another thing coming.

Note: You can hear Jonathan discussing his “Nation of Singles” piece on this week’s Need To Know podcast with Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger.