Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sailer’s 1960s suburban idylls
When I was growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1960s, my mother did lots of volunteer work for charities because raising me, an only child of rational and agreeable temperament, didn’t take much of her time, especially after we got our first dryer (mid-1960s) and dishwasher (late 1960s). I entertained myself at the local park and library, and she didn’t need to chauffeur me to a whole bunch of high-end after-school résumé-fillers so that I could get into college. Instead, UCLA was always wide open to me. Plus, traffic was lighter, so I rode my bike everywhere.
The question is how to bring this back and this time defend individual liberty; not ‘minority group’ rights, the rights of all including minorities.
Today, to afford a house in that same neighborhood, both parents very likely will have to work. And unless they can navigate the complex application processes to get into the small number of exclusive public school programs, people who live in that neighborhood will also pay to send their kids to private school (the number of Jewish private schools, both Orthodox and Reform, in the neighborhood has skyrocketed as Jews, who were ideologically committed back then to sending their kids to public schools, have since either got religion or moved to Portland). And to get into UCLA, the kids will have to be chauffeured to intensive after-school tutoring and activities. So, today, Mom will have to work 40 hours per week for pay and may still have more mom-jobs to do with the kids than my bridge-playing mother had a generation ago.

Also, in terms of actually helping people in need of charitable work, we’ve had this huge swing over the last generation from the charitable work being done by middle-class middle-aged women to their adolescent children trying to look good on college applications. Which demographic do you think was more productive at actually helping people who need help?

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