A Massive Effort at Moral Rebuilding Is Necessary, by Anthony Esolen

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Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

Our cardinal institutions are sickly, incompetent, or perverse and in need of total reform. Yet what we must do, we must do. So let us begin to do it.

Anthony Esolen is a Distinguished Fellow of the Center for American Greatness, a senior editor for Touchstone Magazine, and a contributing editor for Chronicles. He is the author of well over 1,000 articles and of 28 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Regnery Press, 2008); …. 


When the Reverend Samuel Dike and his colleagues inaugurated the National Divorce Reform League in 1881, it was because they saw that the rate of divorce in America had grown dangerously high—dangerous, that is, to the common good, especially of the poor. That rate was 10 percent.

The problems this group had to tackle were social, educational, and political—and by political I imply also the problem of federalism. They knew that certain states had rendered divorces easier to obtain. Nevada was by no means the only state with a questionable policy. Connecticut, a state that had an establishment of religion as late as 1818, had recently passed into law a notoriously liberal provision for divorce, including divorce for any and all reasons not specified. Since Americans might marry in one state and divorce in another, the national condition would be set by the most liberal—that is, the most indifferent or irresponsible states—and thus would one state’s wise protection of family life be undone by a state nearby. …

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