A World Without Fathers

Table of Contents

In Essence

"The Strange Disappearance of Civic America" by Robert D. Putnam, in The American Prospect (Winter 1996), P.O. Box 383080, Cambridge, Mass. 02238; "Tuning in, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America" by Robert D. Putnam, in PS: Political Science & Politics (Dec. 1995), American Political Science Assn., 1527 New Hampshire Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.

"Why We Need a Religious Left" by Amy Waldman, in The Washington Monthly (Dec. 1995), 1611 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.

Michael Mandelbaum, in Foreign Affairs (Jan.-Feb. 1996); "In Defense of Mother Teresa: Morality in Foreign Policy" Stanley Hoffmann, in Foreign Affairs (Mar.-Apr. 1996), 58 E. 68th St., New York, N.Y.The Clinton administration took office in 1993 with a distinctive vision of post-Cold War U.S. foreign policy: that its purpose should be to promote American values by saving lives in such places as Bosnia, Somalia, and Haiti. Instead of basing foreign policy on American national interests...

The Illusion of progressWilliam Pfaff, a columnist for the International Herald Tribune, writing in World Policy Journal (Winter 1995-96), criticizes the rhetoric of progress in foreign policy.National Security Adviser Anthony Lake has said that the United States must strug- gle against nationalists, "tribalists, terrorists, organized criminals, coup plotters, rogue states, and all those who would return newly free states to the intolerant ways of the past. "Note that intolerance...

Britain and Spain, Indians remained a significant threat in the South.And the United States was also just recov- ering from a severe economic crisis. At the time, Rossignol says, it "made good eco-nomic and military sense" to avoid European entanglements. That did not preclude U.S. military action when vital interests were at stake, she notes. "The United States had its own frontline in the 1790s; it was on the [western] frontier, not on An edict for all time?European battlegrounds, t...

overseas Chinese. "As was early-20th- century Shanghai, late-20th-century coastal China is in large part a foreign cre- ation," Elegant writes.Unless there is a restructuring of Chinese industry, Lardy concludes, "the phenomenal growth of trade and investment is likely to slow, leaving China to lag behind the high- performing economies of East Asia."Yet even the spectacular growth of those economies may be destined to slow down, argues Paul Krugman, an economist at Stanford...

the state is there- fore inevitable.A big dip in the share of the jobless the fact that the unemployed are entitled drawing unemployment checks occurred to benefits, the authors say. Unemploy- between 1980 and 1984. The authors cite ment insurance was designed to function two key causes: the states tightened eligi- as an economic stabilizer, pumping bility standards and benefits became par- money into the economy when times are tially subject to federal income taxes in tough. (Total outlays in...

Leonard I. Nakamura, in Business Review (Nov.-Dec. 1995), Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Dept. of Research and Statistics, 10 Independence Mall, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106-1574.Assessments of the economic state of the Union almost always revolve around the "fact" that Americans' wages, corrected for inflation, have declined, falling from an average of more than $8 an hour (in 1982 dollars) in 1975 to less than $7.50 last July. Nakamura, an economic adviser in the research department...

Herschel Grossman, in Cato Journal (Winter 1995), Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001-5403.Professional baseball's exemption from annual meeting called "Overlap," repre-federal antitrust laws has sparked contro- sentatives of the universities even jointly versy for years, but when America's col- decided on how much aid they would leges and universities received a similar offer to specific individual applicants. exemption two years ago, hardly anybody...

about half.The colleges and universities have justi- fied the ban on "merit7' scholarships on equity grounds. If they awarded merit-based assistance, they claim, they would have to cut aid to needy students. But Grossman points out that the richest Ivy League schools-Harvard, Yale, and Princeton-devote a smaller proportion of their gross revenues to financial aid than many of the poorer ones do. Moreover, Grossman says, there's a lot of fat in high- er education-in the form of lavish pay...

"The TV Tabs’ New Tone" by Frank Houston, in Columbia Journalism Review (Jan.-Feb. 1996), 700 Journalism Bldg., Columbia University, New York, N.Y. 10027.

Zdenek V. David, in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History (Oct. 1995), Robinson College, Cambridge University CB3 9AN England. Although derided partisan historians and little known to the general public, the 16th- century Czech Utraquist Church deserves respect and even admiration "for its steadfast- ness, moderation, and patriotism" as it steered a middle course between Lutheranism and the Roman Catholic Church, argues David, the librarian of the Woodrow Wilson Center.The Utraquist C...

Zdenek V. David, in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History (Oct. 1995), Robinson College, Cambridge University CB3 9AN England.Although derided partisan historians and little known to the general public, the 16th- century Czech Utraquist Church deserves respect and even admiration "for its steadfast- ness, moderation, and patriotism" as it steered a middle course between Lutheranism and the Roman Catholic Church, argues David, the librarian of the Woodrow Wilson Center.The Utraquist...

Aristotle, and a significant concern of medieval scholars, modal logic was largely neglected later thinkers. In the 1940s, Marcus, then a grad- uate student, "added new formal features" to modal logic, "greatly enlarging its philo- sophical implications," Holt says. A decade later, teenage prodigy Kripke "supplied it with something it had hitherto lacked: an interpretation, a semantics." Taking the German philosopher Leibniz's conceit that the actual world is just one...

the pope as his agent on earth."In one respect, however, crusad- ing was an exceptional form of holy war: it was enjoined as a means of doing penance for one's sins. This notion, which put combat on the same meritorious plane as prayer, works of mercy, and fasting, had never been entertained Christ- ians before the late 1lth century. While it came to be diluted over the centuries with the rise of the chivalric ideal of knighthood, the idea of combat as penance never- theless "remained...

one researcher Wright cites is that the IQ scores of black inner-city fraternal twins she tested, instead of ranging widely, were quite similar-as turned out to be the case for white children in a similarly deprived environment. Could it be that these youngsters have the genes for a higher intelligence than their environment permits them to express? The debate goes on. The oddpath of Early Environmentalism"Whatever Happened to Industrial Waste?: Reform, Compromise, and Science in Nineteenth C...

Louis Pasteur and other European scientists during the 1870s and '80s. The discovery that germs are the main source of disease focused attention on sewage and reduced the pressure to regulate industrial pollutants. Indeed, the effluent from New England's wool and paper mills, tanneries, iron works, and other manufactur- ing works took on a whole new character. In the late 1880s, the Connecticut Board of Health concluded that "inorganic chemicals [are] harmless, or positively beneficial in counteracting...

Louis Pasteur and other European scientists during the 1870s and '80s. The discovery that germs are the main source of disease focused attention on sewage and reduced the pressure to regulate industrial pollutants. Indeed, the effluent from New England's wool and paper mills, tanneries, iron works, and other manufactur- ing works took on a whole new character. In the late 1880s, the Connecticut Board of Health concluded that "inorganic chemicals [are] harmless, or positively beneficial in counteracting...

weights and other devices. Returning home at 17, Newton kept on experimenting, to his mother's dismay. "He was so surly that after nine months his mother finally gave up. Newton was packed off to Cambridge," with even the servants saying he was fit for nothing else.Because his wealthy but barely literate mother refused to pay, Newton entered Cambridge in 1661 as a poor "subsizar," who earned his way waiting on the Fel- lows and better-off students, until 1664, when he was elected...

Time once before, responded asking for an estimate of "what a refusal would cost Random House," saying he would gladly write his publisher a check to avoid the "distinction."Time had the "initially admirable" belief that culture was as much "news" as political and social events were, Moran says. But its cover stories "helped to create a kind of lit- erary 'star system,' " a forerunner of today's blockbuster-oriented publishing scene in which a...

Leon Surette, in Philosophy and Literature (Oct. 1995), Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Journals Division, 2715 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Md. 21218-4319.Among today's literary critics, philosopher Richard Rorty has many admirers. A self-described "Deweyan pragmatist," he thinks philosophers should abandon not only tradi- tional metaphysics but also the early American pragmatists' enthusiasm for the natural sciences, and instead adopt literary criticism's "ironic" and "conversational"...

Johannes Vermeer (1632-75) recently exhibited at Washington's National Gallery of Art excite so much enthusiasm? James F. Cooper, editor ofAmerican Arts Quarterly (Fall 1995), offers an explanation.It is possible, of course, to enjoy Vermeer's art purely on the aesthetic level. . . .But, ultimately, what one takes away from a Vermeer painting is a sense of the artist's sincere, humble desire to reconnect with the sacred, expressed fiercely on canvas without consider- ation of profit, career, or...

Turkey's long-standing Islamist political party. The Refah (Welfare) Party had been seen as a marginal religious organization representing cranky traditionalists, especially backward small-town shopkeepers. The ads, however, Oncu says, put a new face on the Islamist movement, one that was "urban, lit- erate, middle class." Quotations from the Koran were scarce, and Refah's constituents, she observes, "were not the turbaned women and bearded dark men of the imagination, but everyday...

the rise of prodemocracy "groups of students, women, [and] human rights activists." Local elec- tions are scheduled this year and parliamen- tary balloting is set for 1998. But the Phnom Penh government's performance has been so poor that Jeldres fears that "a crisis of legiti- macy may be brewing." The Gulag Accounts"Forced Labour under Stalin: The Archive Revelations" R. W. Davies, in New Left Review (Nov.-Dec. 1995), 6 Meard St., London, England W1V 3HR. Ever si...

As a former geography professor who became disenchanted with academe many years ago, I must say that the two articles under 'What's Wrong with the American University?" [WQ, Winter '961 are more than poignant. They should be made required reading for all univer- sity administrators and professors.John Duncklee Oracle, Ariz.So former education bureaucrats Chester Finn and Bruno Manno say American universi- ties have too many unworthy students who could be taught more creatively. This kind...

Henretta fails to mention that the Panic Jefferson for his espousal of "limited govem- of 1837, one of the six major depressions of ment," but his position should not be treatedU.S. history, immediately followed a systemat- as wholly abstract and completely divorced ic 99.7 percent reduction in the national debt from the politics of the time. over 14 consecutive years (1823-36). Indeed, Frederick C.Thayer Andrew Jackson often is praised these days for The George Washington University...

Book Reviews

THE DIARIES OF DAWN POWELL 1931-1965 By Dawn powell. Edited and with a introduction by Tim Page. Steerforth. 513 pp. $32

Mary R. Lefkowitz and Guy MacLean Rogers, eds. Univ. of North Carolina Press. 544 pp. $55 cloth, $19.95 paper

Essays

For more than a third of all American children, life without father is now the norm. Pushed to record levels by divorce and, more recently, the rise of childbearing outside of marriage, fatherlessness afflicts whites and blacks, rich and poor—virtually every group in the population. Affliction is not too strong a word for the phenomenon. While fatherhood has not fared well in a popular culture that celebrates freedom from both authority and obligation, more and more evidence shows that growing up without a father is even worse for children than folk wisdom suggests—and that it may be a root cause of a surprising array of social ills, from crime to academic failure to the decline of compassion.

The decline of fatherhood is one of the most basic, unexpected, and extraordinary social trends of our time. Its dimensions can be captured in a single statistic: in just three decades, between 1960 and 1990, the percentage of children living apart from their biological fathers more than doubled, from 17 percent to 36 percent. By the turn of the century, nearly 50 percent of American children may be going to sleep each evening without being able to say good night to their dads.

David Popenoe

Much of our contemporary debate over fatherhood is governed by the assumption that men can solve the fatherhood problem on their own. The organizers of last year’s Million Man March asked women to stay home, and the leaders of Promise Keepers and other grassroots fatherhood movements whose members gather with considerably less fanfare simply do not admit women.

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

In 1996, John Barth calmly and correctly explained why the novel would survive the coming of hypertext and other digital challenges.

John Barth

Nowhere in the world has the dream of reason been pursued quite so vigorously as in the Kingdom of Sweden. Under Social Democratic leadership, this Scandinavian country became famous around the world for its humane "Middle Way." Swedes believed that their distinctive "Swedish model," with its massive welfare state, its near-full employment, and its lofty egalitarianism, provided at least a glimpse of what a rationally constructed utopia might be. In recent years, however, the Swedish model has developed serious problems, and Swedes have begun to ponder some profoundly unsettling questions—questions about who they are and where they are headed. Our author takes us to post-utopian Sweden.

Gordon F. Sander

A century and a half after it began, the Mexican War has become a footnote to American history. When not forgotten, it has been misinterpreted—as America’s first imperial venture or its first unpopular war. The truth about the conflict, and its effect on the nation, is far more interesting.

Robert W. Johannsen

"Civil society" has become the talisman of the post–Cold War era, invoked by everybody from Vaclav Havel to Patrick Buchanan. While associations and volunteer groups are indeed essential to a society’s health, our author reminds us that a civilized society cannot exist without the civilizing authority of the state.

John Lukacs

Numbers usually tell only partial truths. Yet, for some reason, Americans keep hoping to find revelation in them.

Steven Lagerfeld

POETRY
by Carl Dennis
Selected and introduced by Anthony Hecht

Anthony Hecht

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