How strong are America’s communities?
Sadly, we know from decades of research, including work by the Social Capital Project, that they are growing weaker.
Men and women are having fewer children in total, and they are also having fewer children within wedlock. Between 1970 and 2015, births to single mothers rose from 11 percent of all births to 40 percent.
Americans are spending less time in religious communities. Church attendance and trust in organized religion have dropped sharply since the early 1970s.
Americans also participate less in secular voluntary associations such as the Boy Scouts and Rotary International—groups that historically have brought together people from different walks of life.
The destruction of community life is a spiritual crisis for millions. They have been severed from local institutions that give meaning to the soul.
What caused this? There are of course many culprits, but much of the blame goes to the federal government, which has intruded into aspects of life that used to be the sole domain of civil society.
As scholar Robert Nisbet observed, government crowds out civic groups by competing with them to perform similar social functions. Robbed of purpose by a competitor they cannot outspend, these civic groups wither, leaving behind an empty public square.
The challenge we face today is rebuilding our communities, which will require us to reverse century-old trends toward centralization. We need to stop investing in Washington, and reinvest in the places we came from.
Unlike our current season of national outrage, a turn toward localism stands a chance of actually yielding a happier, healthier republic.
First of all, a renewed focus on local governance would lower the stakes of political conflict.
Given the shared values within most communities, decisions made at lower levels of government are more likely to be consensus decisions. And when problems arise within communities, local politicians are better situated …read more
From:: Daily Signal – Feed