Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Sine Qua Non of Anne-Marie Slaughter's Angst

Economic historian Amity Shlaes provides a sharp-witted analysis ('Women Who Want It All Should Conceive a Business') of the economic choices  Anne-Marie Slaughter could have availed herself as a response to the angstful 'Why Women Still Can't Have It All'.  Slaughter delves in to the work-life balance challenges of a high-ranking State Department official with children.

Readers of Mrs. Slaughter's piece could be forgiven for the snarky thought of 'the lady doth protest to much'.  There is a chicken-to-the-egg for all the angst.  Mrs. Slaughter and her husband partnered to have children.

Once the egg had been seeded, there's the alea iacta est of a sine qua non (the 'die has been cast' on a 'without this nothing' condition).  It is this wife-husband partnership and its original founding principles that should provide the guidance to all joint decisions that balance aspirations and needs of children and parents.

Mrs. Slaughter's social policy recommendations to ameliorate the angst  (“We need to change our social policies more fundamentally with good day care, school that ends the same time work ends and really providing for more integrated work and school life.") is an attempt to shift the costs/responsibilities wife and husband have for raising children.  It dilutes the partnership rather than strengthening it.   Moreover, it increases government's footprint into areas of responsibility we are well equipped to deal with when a self-sufficient philosophy is applied.

If Slaughter is asking the greater society to bear some of the costs for her (and her husband's) child rearing decisions, society has a right to ask what it will get in return for these added costs; and to make a reasoned decision on what it will get in return.  It should only do so with the full knowledge that increasing government always has unintended consequences; which should inform a bias for small/minimal government.

Related: What’s in it for U.S.?: The Limited Government Case against Gay Marriage

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