No Shortcuts

JACK NELSON-PALLMEYER'S new book, Families Valued: Parenting and Politics for the Good of All Children, contains a breadth of social analysis, data, and stories to support its clever title, which is supplemented by this line: A father explores how the needs of children could change personal and social priorities.

The following excerpt is chosen from the material in the book that focuses on approaches to parenting, but we could just as easily have chosen an excerpt from chapters with titles such as "Men and Violence," "Where Personal and Social Responsibility Meet," or "Values, Debt, and the Environment."

For example, in "The Politics of Poverty," Nelson-Pallmeyer concludes:

What should be clear is that silence about moral behavior is feeding a mean politics which helps cover up an essential truth: In our society poverty is ugly, dysfunctional, and crippling, and it is rooted in class divisions and a corporate-dominated system which distorts political and economic life. The huge and widening gap in income, wealth, political power, opportunity, and privilege which separates a prospering minority from the vast majority of U.S. citizens is at the heart of the family and social crises gripping our nation."

And in "Market and Non-Market Values," Nelson-Pallmeyer begins:

Personalists [the author's term for those who place greater weight on personal responsibility than social forces in analyzing dysfunctional individual behaviors] say criminal behavior, absent fathers, teen-age mothers, and divorce are problems rooted in values. They are right. They are concerned about violence, sexual images, and other values communicated through TV, music, and movies, and these concerns are justified....They want to strengthen families. I concur.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 1996
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