No, Secularists Are Not Ruining America

Pema Levy reports that our fearless attorney general is unhappy with the state of America:

In his address Friday, Barr thundered against what he described as a “moral upheaval.” “Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground,” he said. “Along with the wreckage of the family we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence and the deadly drug epidemic.”

Let’s check this out for young people. There’s no question that single-parent families are on the rise, but three-quarters of all kids still live in two-parent families. What’s more, it’s worth pointing out that the US is not a huge outlier on this front:

Teen suicides are up in recent years, but nowhere near a record:

Illicit drug use is way down in virtually every category:

And of course violent crime is way down too:

Self-reported rates of depression among teens is up in recent years, but it’s unclear if these numbers are accurate.

I’d add to this that teen pregnancy is down, graduation rates are up, school bullying is down, and test scores are up in both reading and math.

Now, this is just teens, and Barr was presumably talking about the population in general. However, if teens are doing pretty well, that speaks well both for how we’re raising our kids and how society is affecting bad behaviors.

Obviously not everything is peaches and cream. The opioid epidemic may be receding, but it’s a serious problem. And although the Case/Deaton “deaths of despair” thesis may be overstated, it’s still a problem too.

That said, it seems likely that the real problems we have are mostly centered not on the loss of religion, as Barr suggests, or on bad morals in general. The real problems are mostly centered on sluggish or nonexistent wage growth among the working and middle classes. That’s a problem that Barr’s party doesn’t like to admit because it might get in the way of their project to direct as much money to the rich as possible.

Bottom line: Barr needs to look at himself in a mirror.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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