Sunday, May 23, 2004

Updated May 23, 2004 at 11:45 pm:

Family Values, Same Sex Marriage, School Choice and Eric Zorn:
Can Zorn do what he said he could?

In a bit of a rant in his Chicago Tribune column of today [located in his usual Tuesday/Thursday Metro Section, p. 1, Left side space, but not at his usual Saturday space, which is to be buried somewhere in the Metro Section of Section 1- today was a special Zorn Sunday column-- online at], Eric Zorn notes that liberals, at least until recently, did not cherish the notion of “family,” quite as much conservatives have-- at least not in the same sense that conservatives have. One manifestation of this was that liberals tended not to use the word “family,” in the description of their organizations. Another is that they have not been too interested in studying which attributes of government tend to promote or retard the growth of families, at least with respect to what most people have previously thought the word, "family," to encompass. [BTW, you will want to track human interest, public policy and political discussions in Eric Zorn’s always interesting blog every weekday at].

Now that Eric Zorn would like same sex marriages to be blessed by governments everywhere, not just the narrow 4-3 majority on the Massachusetts Supreme Court, he seeks to grab back the name “family values,” for himself and other liberals, to use, apparently indiscriminately—or at least to cover a broader range of combinations of people in a “family unit,” than has previously been the case.

So, I guess will now be known as And, I guess when we have an antiwar protest similar to that of the 60s-- Mark Rudd, or his 2004 counterpart- will no longer say, "Chicks up front." Instead, it will be "weakest and most attractive (on average, of course) members of the protest family," up front. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

But Zorn goes further, asserting, "I could make the case that it reflects good family values to... devote our energies to boosting public education...I could but I won't...Family is too important to many of us to drag its name through the muck of our bitter socio-political one owns it."

Another Berkowitz challenge to Eric Zorn:

Go ahead Eric, make my day: having teased me-- this I have to hear. You don't say it explicitly, but I would imagine you mean to argue for boosting "public PROVISION OF education," as opposed to "public FINANCING OF education," as a means of promoting families [Same sex or not]. Public provision of education, of course, is near and dear to your heart as a voucher-phobe and public financing of education, of course, is near and dear to my heart as a voucher-phile. So, go ahead, make your voucher-phobe argument. I will make sure all the viewers and readers of "Public Affairs," left and right, give you a dispensation for dragging "Family" through the muck, just this once.

Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of "Public Affairs," can be reached at