Reading David Brook's column, The Virtues of Virtue, I wonder which caused more latte to be spilt this morning in New York, the fact that things are getting measurably and demonstrably better in George W. Bush's Amerikkka:
Violent crime over all is down by 55 percent since 1993 and violence by teenagers has dropped an astonishing 71 percent, according to the Department of Justice.
The number of drunken driving fatalities has declined by 38 percent since 1982, according to the Department of Transportation, even though the number of vehicle miles traveled is up 81 percent. The total consumption of hard liquor by Americans over that time has declined by over 30 percent.
Teenage pregnancy has declined by 28 percent since its peak in 1990. Teenage births are down significantly and, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the number of abortions performed in the country has also been declining since the early 1990's.
Fewer children are living in poverty, even allowing for an uptick during the last recession. There's even evidence that divorce rates are declining, albeit at a much more gradual pace. People with college degrees are seeing a sharp decline in divorce, especially if they were born after 1955...
Teenage suicide is down. Elementary school test scores are rising (a sign than more kids are living in homes conducive to learning). Teenagers are losing their virginity later in life and having fewer sex partners.
Or the reasons why they are getting better:
We're in the middle of a moral revival now, and there has been very little of that. This revival has been a bottom-up, prosaic, un-self-conscious one, led by normal parents, normal neighbors and normal community activists.
The first thing that has happened is that people have stopped believing in stupid ideas: that the traditional family is obsolete, that drugs are liberating, that it is every adolescent's social duty to be a rebel.
The second thing that has happened is that many Americans have become better parents. Time diary studies reveal that parents now spend more time actively engaged with kids, even though both parents are more likely to work outside the home.
Third, many people in the younger generation, under age 30 or so, are reacting against the culture of divorce. They are trying to lead lives that are more stable than the ones their parents led. Post-boomers behave better than the baby boomers did.
Fourth, over the past few decades, neighborhood and charitable groups have emerged to help people lead more organized lives, even in the absence of cohesive families.
Did you happen to notice what's missing from all this causation?