Love and Work in the Modern Agernby Jean Bethke ElshtainrnFrom Cottage to Work Station:rnThe Family’s Search for SocialrnHarmony in the Industrial Agernby Allan C. CarlsonrnSan Francisco: Ignatius;rn181pp.,$l2.95rnMy mother would call Allan Carlsonrna man gifted with “commonrnsense.” In her eyes this was high praise.rnShe was right in this as in so manyrnthings. Carlson’s most recent entry intornthe seemingly interminable debaternabout “whither the family?” or evenrn”whether the family?” is marked by a refreshinglyrnclear writing style: a crisprnrecitation of many fascinating historical,rneconomical, and sociological facts; arnforthright ethical imperative; and, finally,rna rather remarkable restraint in lightrnof the heated polemics that all too oftenrn]ean Bethke Elshtain is a professorrnof political science and philosophyrnat Vanderbilt University and the authorrnofPublic Man, Private Woman:rnWomen in Social and PoliticalrnThought (Princeton University Press).rnaccompany this most central and personalrnof “academic” subjects. My onernregret is that the book will enjoy a smallerrnaudience than it should. For onernthing, Carlson is not “politically correct.”rnFor another, he writes as an expert “outside”rnthe academy, and academics oftenrnhave great difficultv crediting that.rn”Love is all you need,” sang the Beatles.rnNo, it isn’t, argues Cadson. WernAmericans are a notoriously romanticrnlot. We seem to believe that love andrn”personal values” and good will can overcomernall obstacles and create the woridrnanew, even as we are shocked at thernmounting debris, the wreckage in humanrnlives that more and more surroundsrnus. How could things have gone sornwrong when we all meant so well? Cadsonrnhelps us to understand what has happenedrnto and with us and why. He assistsrnus in placing in perspective extraordinaryrnclaims that are, nowadays, taken forrnordinary.rnLet me proffer an example of what 1rnhave in mind. As 1 write, 1 have beforernme the New York Times for Wednesday,rnJuly 14, 1993. A front-page headlinernproclaims: “Census Reports a Sharp IncreasernAmong Never-Married Mothers,”rnwith the reassuring subtitle, “PuncturingrnStereotypes of Out-of-Wedlock Births.”rnThe stereotype that here gets punctured,rnin the view of the Times, is that out-ofwedlockrnbirths are tied to poor, uneducated,rnor minority women. Not so! thernTimes exults, well-nigh giddy at thernthought. Everybody’s doing it! Onernfinds, for example, a “particularly steep”rnincrease in out-of-wedlock births amongrn”educated and professional women.” Ofrncourse, what the article is at pains tornmask is the fact that, although the overallrnpercentage of “white women andrnwomen who attend college” having childrenrnwithout benefit of marriage hasrnrisen sharply, this category still accountsrnfor a small percentage of the overall figurernof neariy a quarter of the nation’s unmarriedrnwomen becoming mothers, “anrnincrease of almost 60 percent in the pastrndecade.” Specifically, women with arnbachelor’s degree compromise only 6.4rnpercent of such births; black mothersrn(who are more likely to be poor and undereducated)rnaccount for 55.5 percent,rnwith the overall percentage of babiesrnborn to unwed black mothers skyrocketingrnto 64 percent last year.rnWhy is the narrative that accompaniesrnthese figures designed to steer usrnaside from the obvious conclusion?rnWhy is the one “expert” the Times consultedrna professor of sociology at Prince-rn32/CHRONICLESrnrnrn