Why Social Conservatives Fight the Culture Wars

875 - Family Portrait

I just read David Brooks’ most recent column: The Next Culture War. In a nutshell, he argues that Christians ought to abandon their decades-long, fighting retreat against the sexual revolution. “Consider putting aside,” he writes, “the culture war oriented around the sexual revolution.” Channeling Disney’s Frozen, he argues that Christians should just let it go. After all, aren’t there enough other problems to tackle? “We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed,” he writes.

I have a lot of respect for David Brooks. He’s one the people I’d most love to have a lunch conversation with. But, he doesn’t seem to understand that his suggestion asks for Christians to bail the water out of a sinking boat while ignoring the hole in the hull.

You see, the sexual revolution is the reason that we live in a society that is “plagued by formlessness and radical flux.” In The Social Animal, Brooks argues against the atomization of society on both the left and on the right, with each side focusing myopically on divisible, separable, self-contained individualism. The left argues that human individuals can construct their own gender and sexual identities free from repercussions and it therefore sees free birth control and elective abortion as fundamental rights. The right views collectivism with a hostile gaze, channeling Ayn Rand at times, and argues for personal responsibility sometimes to the point of callousness. These are twin heads of the same coin, and Brooks is right to focus on it. It is one of the defining philosophical tragedies of our age.

But what he seems to fail to grasp is that this radically individualized view of human nature follows in part directly from the sexual revolution. To the extent that the sexual revolution has been about excising sex from the context of marriage and family, it has been an assault on the biological family unit. And this unit–including the bond of husband and wife to each other and also to their children–comprises the two most essential bonds in human society.

To put it simply, social conservatism is animated in no small part by the conviction that biological families are irreplaceable. And so, to the extent that Brooks’ invitation is for social conservatives to give up and try to replace them, he is asking something of us that we simply cannot provide.

As a brief caveat, it’s not entirely clear that that is what he’s asking. He writes that we ought to “help nurture stable families.” I’m just not sure how he imagines this should be accomplished in practice. At one point, he suggests that conservatives abandon the culture wars while at another point he says that “I don’t expect social conservatives to change their positions on sex.” Which is it? Because conservative positions on sex are their participation in the culture wars. It may be the he merely thinks we should keep those beliefs quiet, but again: how does one practically “help nurture stable families” while abandoning resistance to the sexual revolution? Subjective sexual morality, open relationships, sex before marriage, pornography: these are not incidental things that happen to exist alongside “formlessness and radical flux.” These are the acids in which the stable family–as a normative and aspirational social beacon–dissolves.

And this cuts both ways, by the way. To the extent that social conservatives are unwilling to abandon their commitments, their opponents are equally unlikely to let the issue go. Thus, I have to express a deep skepticism of the upside of Brooks’ plan. His idea is that–if we assume for a moment that it is possible to meaningfully nurture families without participating in the culture wars–that suddenly religion will be well-thought of in the world. All of a sudden, we would be known as “the people who converse with us about the transcendent in everyday life.”

This is impossible, because the commitment social conservatives have to their values is mirrored by the commitment social liberals have to their mutually contradictory values. And as long as social liberals dominate the opinion-making sectors of our society their animosity will continue to be expressed in part by ongoing negative characterization of social conservatives as backwards bigots. And, make no mistake, social liberals do dominate the opinion making sectors of our society: academia, the press, the entertainment industry, and the Internet. Even if social conservatives did go quiet on their beliefs, I have very, very little confidence that our image would suddenly be rehabilitated.

Graph from Business Insider article about political makeup of American industries. Click image for link to article.
Graph from Business Insider article about political makeup of American industries. Click image for link to article.

Here is the reality: social conservatives are fighting the sexual revolution–despite it being a losing proposition thus far–because we believe that nothing does more good for children than being raised by their biological parents and that very little does more harm than for little children to be deprived of this natural right. This belief necessitates viewing sex as more than merely a recreational activity or even a question of strictly intrapersonal, subjective meaning to be negotiated between the willing adult participants. The belief that immature human beings have a strong moral claim on their parents for protection logically requires a view of sex as a deeply significant act for which consenting adults–male and female together–ought to be morally, socially, and legally responsible.

There is certainly room for compromise and innovation within this conflict. The idea that social conservatives want to wholesale turn back the clock to an imaginary 1950s is an unfair stereotype. Much of the progress–both for women and for minorities–since the 1950s comes to us as precious treasure, dearly purchased and should be treated with humility, gratitude, and respect. Many of the contentious technologies that have fueled this debate–from the pill to IVF–are morally neutral technologies which can certainly coexist with a thoughtful, robust view of normative sexual ethics. There is room for these views to be better articulated within social conservatism, and for some social conservatives to take them more seriously and moderate their positions.

And so I do not want to meet Brooks’ call with a hardline refusal. It’s worth considering. What I wish to convey is that social conservatism is restricted in its freedom to adapt. That is not a design flaw. The point of having principles at all is that–while they may be interpreted or applied in innovative or flexible ways–there is a limit to that flexibility. There are some things that a person cannot do without abandoning principle. For social conservatives, the central principle is the care and protection of society’s most vulnerable, which means our children (before and after birth). An additional article of faith is that no institution can replace the biological family in filling that role. As a result, social conservatives not only will not abandon their opposition to the sexual revolution, they cannot do so and remain social conservatives. Can we do more without abandoning that opposition? I’m sure we can, and I hope we never stop being motivated by that question.

On the Supreme Court Ruling

Carlos McKnight of Washington waves a flag in support of same-sex marriage outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, June 26. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/26/politics/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage-ruling/index.html">The Supreme Court ruled 5-4</a> Friday that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, handing gay rights advocates their biggest victory yet. See photos from states that approved same-sex marriage before the nationwide ruling:

The New York Times has an interactive article titled “How We Changed Our Thinking on Gay Marriage.” It features interviews with a Republican Congresswoman, a Baptist pastor, and even the president of the Institute for American Values and former Proposition 8 witness. Given the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday on same-sex marriage nationwide, I thought I’d post a piece from a couple years back that helped me formulate my own outlook on gay marriage. The essay is by William & Mary law professor Nate Oman. When it boils down to it, I ultimately share his view: “I am neither entirely joyful about gay marriage nor entirely pessimistic. Rather, I am worried. I think that gay marriage has the potential to be a positive social phenomena, as well as having the potential to be destructive. I don’t purport to know what its ultimate effects will be, and I suspect that they will be mixed.”

Nate Oman

Instead of virtually reposting Nate’s whole paper (which you really should take the time to read) by means of huge quotes, I’ve highlighted a few main points that really stand out to me:

  • Function vs. Equality: As much as I love the rhetoric of liberty and equality, such rhetoric may miss the point. “I do not think that marriage is primarily about equality,” writes Oman. “I do not think that it is a special status conferred on heterosexuals as a reward for being heterosexual, one from which homosexuals are excluded in order to convey a message of social inferiority. Rather, I think that is an institution that does certain things, serves certain functions.” Oman’s approach to the institution by means of processes and functions instead of abstract principles resonates with me. Marriage’s functions as identified by Oman include
    • Bonding couples together via legal commitment and social pressures/norms, resulting, on average, in more productive and resilient people.
    • Legitimating sexual activity and cutting down on the emotional, physical, and social risks of illicit sex.
    • Providing a context for child rearing and shielding their vulnerability.
  • Ideals vs. Reality: My unease over same-sex marriage was largely due to my religious upbringing and later research on family structure. I think the social science (including economics) is very supportive of the notion that family structure matters for a child’s economic, emotional, and educational well-being, with biological parents in a low-conflict marriage being the ideal. Yet, this same research suggests that stable, low-conflict same-sex marriages may be a healthy alternative to high-conflict heterosexual marriages, divorce, cohabitation, and single parent households. Even Mark Regnerus’ controversial research on child outcomes of same-sex parenting points to instability as the main culprit behind the negative results he found. If marriage became more of a norm and ideal in the gay community, it’s possible that this instability would decrease. Which leads to the next point.
  • Traditional Values vs. Hedonism: “Gay marriage,” Nate writes, “is potentially most powerful as a conservative retrenchment, an effort to impose a more traditional model on the unruly riot of family structures that already dominate the lives of many children.” Furthermore, he thinks “that one of the greatest potential benefits of gay marriage is that it makes possible gay chastity.” Swedish economist Andreas Bergh once described Sweden has heading in a more market-oriented direction, while the U.S. tends to move in a more socialist direction. I think of the two communities in similar ways. Broadly speaking, it seems that heterosexual relationships are becoming increasingly fragile and fragmented, while homosexual relationships are moving in a more stable, domestic direction.

Nate concludes,

To homosexuals who are now going to get married, I say congratulations. I hope that you have happy and fulfilling lives. I hope that your marriages are strong, and I hope that they become an example that will discipline and orient the lives of others. To the advocates of gay marriage, I hope that you will stop talking so much about freedom and equality and will start talking about marriage, about how it should organize people’s sexual lives and give structure to their families. I hope that your new found enthusiasm for marriage translates into the revival of some of the informal social pressures and expectations that signal to everyone that marriage is not simply a choice or a right but a preferred way of life…I don’t expect the language of liberty and equality around gay marriage to recede from the public stage but having lost the political battle on gay marriage, social conservatives should embrace the rhetorical and social possibilities it provides for talking about the good of marriage as opposed to its alternatives. A focus on gay marriages as a superior structures for gay families rather than on gay marriage as a marker of social equality strikes me as the best road going forward. In the end, I don’t know what will happen. I think that marriage will be good for gay families. I am less sanguine about the effects of the gay marriage debate on our shared public understanding of marriage. I fear it has reinforced ideas that are destructive to marriage at the margins. The good news is that I may be wrong, which would make me happy.


The Relevance of Shakespeare

It was deeply fascinating to watch how strikingly contemporary American audiences from coast to coast found Shakespeare’s Othello — painfully immediate in its unfolding of evil, innocence, passion, dignity and nobility, and contemporary in its overtones of a clash of cultures, of the partial acceptance of and consequent effect upon one of a minority group. Against this background, the jealousy of the protagonist becomes more credible, the blows to his pride more understandable, the final collapse of his personal, individual world more inevitable. But beyond the personal tragedy, the terrible agony of Othello, the irretrievability of his world, the complete destruction of all his trusted and sacred values — all these suggest the shattering of a universe.

I was reminded of these words after reading Dana Dusbiber’s post on why Shakespeare should not be taught. In a nutshell, he is difficult, white, and long dead. How could someone like that be relevant in today’s diverse classroom? The words at the top of the page were written not by any white academic in an ivory tower, but by Paul Robeson, the singer, athlete, actor, and black activist. Growing up, Paul Robeson was a hero to me. I always felt a little out of place, and though Robeson died before I was born, his story was inspiring. He had talent, courage, and conviction, speaking always with a profound dignity. Electrifying. The man was like a king. His lifelong struggle was to create a society in which all people were treated equally because he knew how awful the alternative was. Robeson was the first black actor in the twentieth century to play Othello, using the role to break down barriers against integration both on stage and off it. In the play, Othello is at the top of his profession. He is a key man in Venice, is wealthy, and has married into Venetian society. Despite all that, Othello feels insecure because he is an outsider, and his rivals use that insecurity to destroy him. Why wouldn’t such a play be relevant to “very ethnically-diverse and wonderfully curious modern-day students?” Even if you share the majority’s skin pigmentation, why would Othello not have anything to say to the kid that never feels that he fits in, no matter his accomplishments? I was that kid. Let’s not hurry to dismiss Shakespeare just because he happens to be white and dead.

New Project: The Essential Hayek

The Canada-based Fraser Institute has a new project titled The Essential Hayek. As the website explains,

Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek (1899 – 1992) is one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century and his work still resonates with economists and scholars around the world today. Two decades after Hayek’s death, his ideas are increasingly relevant in an era where governments grow ever larger and more interventionist. Essential Hayek is a project of the Fraser Institute, comprised of a book, this website, and several videos, that aim to explain Hayek’s ideas in common, every-day language. It is a resource for all who value liberty.

A book of the same name can be downloaded for free. It summarizes Hayek’s key insights and is handy for both novices and those already familiar with his work. The website also features a number of useful videos on various Hayekian points, such as the importance of price in relaying dispersed information.

Check it out.


The Purpose of Absurdity

880 - Calling a Deer a Horse

The purpose of absurdity is a blog post that goes a little deeper into conspiratorial waters than I’m willing to go, but still raises an issue that I believe is worth considering.

Many folks have observed that, especially as you move out towards the fringes of socially liberal dogma, the ideology becomes increasingly self-defeating and self-contradictory. For some humorous examples, consider the College Humor sketches This Video Will Offend You and if it Doesn’t I’ll be Offended and The Social Consequences of Everything. For a more serious treatment of the absurdity, consider John McWhorters article for The Daily Beast: The Privilege of Checking White Privilege:

I firmly believe that improving the black condition does not require changing human nature, which may always contain some tribalist taints of racism. We exhibit no strength—Black Power—in pretending otherwise. I’m trying to take a page from Civil Rights heroes of the past, who would never have imagined that we would be shunting energy into trying to micromanage white psychology out of a sense that this was a continuation of the work of our elders.

Or, you know, pick any of the numerous recent articles like this one: Classical Mythology Too Triggering for Columbia Students. If you’re still not convinced, just go with it for the sake of argument: elements of socially liberal politics are absurd.

So the question then becomes, not to put too fine a point on it: so what? Say that the philosophical premises of transgenderism (e.g. gender essentialism) conflict with the philosophical premises of feminism (gender is a social construct), so what? Why don’t we just go ahead and accept philosophically contradictory premises if it’s what makes people feel better. Are we really such sticklers for logical precision that we put cold rationality ahead of people’s lived experiences? What harm could it do?

Believe it or not, I think that’s a serious question. And it deserves a serious answer. Which takes me back to that initial link on the purpose of absurdity. Here’s the basic story. A Chinese minister named Zhao Gao helps Huhai usurp the throne and then assassinates a whole bunch of potential rivals to secure Huhai’s claim as emperor. But then Huhai starts to be difficult to manage. And so:

Zhao Gao didn’t like that. He started to think that maybe they should have a change of emperor, but he couldn’t be sure he could pull it off.

So Zhao Gao brings a deer into the palace. Grabs it from the horns, calls the emperor to come out, and says “look your majesty, a brought you a fine horse”. The Emperor, not amused, says “Surely you are mistaken, calling a deer a horse. Right?”. Then the emperor looks around at all the ministers. Some didn’t say a word, just sweating nervously. Some others loudly proclaimed what a fine horse this was. Great horse. Look at this tail! These fine legs. Great horse, naturally prime minister Zhao Gao has the best of tastes.

A small bunch did protest that this was a deer, not a horse. Those were soon after summarily executed. And the Second Emperor himself was murdered some time later.

The point of the story, of course, is that it doesn’t really matter at all if you call a deer a horse. But asking people to go along with something that is simply not true is a really good way of identifying the troublesome folks and removing them. And then I think of the way Ryan T. Anderson has been ostracised or Brandon Eich got hounded out of his job. Set aside, just for the moment, the substantial issue of whether or gay marriage is right or wrong and just ask the more general question: how does society treat our dissidents? How do we treat the people who sincerely believe that they are being asked to go along with something that is simply not true?

The costs of speaking your mind on these issues is becoming very, very high. Perhaps to the point where–even if you agree with gay marriage (as Damon Linker and Andrew Sullivan)–the social cowing of dissidents and iconoclasts has gone too far.


The Maximum of Hatred for a Minimum of Reason

In the spring of 1940, a young Jewish scholar disembarked in New York, and was deeply affected by what he saw- a black shoeshine. What was so shocking? Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel came to the United States as a refugee fleeing Hitler. His mother and his sister were imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto , eventually perishing in the Holocaust. The worlds he knew were completely destroyed by racism. It is no cliché that for Heschel, America represented a new hope. One of the first things that he saw in his new home was a black man relegated to the demeaning job of kneeling to polish shoes. It was a painful reminder than one could not flee racism. It had to be eradicated. This one incident, though, is unlikely to have created Heschel’s lifelong commitment to the civil rights movement. While teaching at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Heschel befriended Larry D. Harris, the head-waiter, a proud deacon in a black church. This is how he learned of the realities of segregation, and his commitment to eradicating that evil would eventually lead to Selma. In light of the Charleston shooting, it is worth reading Heschel’s powerful 1963 denunciation of racism and the treatment of African Americans. What happened in Charleston is not about whiteness, blackness, or even privilege. These are manifestations of the root issue, a refusal to see each other as members of the same family, a refusal that can open a Pandora’s box of hatred, oppression, and murder. Sadly, Heschel’s words have not lost their relevance.

Religion and race. How can the two be uttered together? To act in the spirit of religion is to unite what lies apart, to remember that humanity as a whole is God’s beloved child. To act in the spirit of race is to sunder, to slash, to dismember the flesh of living humanity. Is this the way to honor a father: to torture his child? How can we hear the word “race” and feel no self reproach? Race as a normative legal or political concept is capable of expanding to formidable dimensions. A mere thought, it extends to become a way of thinking, a highway of insolence, as well as a standard of values, overriding truth, justice, beauty. As a standard of values and behavior, race operates as a comprehensive doctrine, as racism. And racism is worse than idolatry. Racism is satanism, unmitigated evil. Few of us seem to realize how insidious, how radical, how universal an evil racism is. Few of us realize that racism is man’s gravest threat to man, the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason, the maximum of cruelty for a minimum of thinking.

The Black Church as an American Symbol

Historian Benjamin Park has an excellent post on the Charleston shooting and its connection to the history of white violence against black churches. After relaying a brief history of the suppressed slave rebellion in Charleston in 1822, the convictions and executions that followed, and the building of the Citadel “as a way to protect whites from the type of racial threats the AME Church posed,” Park writes,

Black churches became a central recruitment point for soldiers and a prominent pedestal for emancipation messages during the Civil War, yet they were also frequently targeted by Confederate forces. They were primary locations for mobilization during the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement—Martin Luther King Jr. even used the Emanuel Church in Charleston for meetings of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference—but also venues for violent backlash, as seen with the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Sadly, these attacks continue to appear in staggering numbers today. If one were to find a central crossing point for racial conflict in America, it would be hard not to choose a church.

It is an incredible essay. Check it out.

The Charleston Attack Was Terrorism

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The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Original photo by Cal Sr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/13147394@N05/2761893535. Used under Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Less than 48 hours ago, a mass shooting took place at the historic  Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston. Since then I have read many articles, Tweets, and statuses about this tragic attack. And, while there is still a lot we do not know, we do know this much: this was a terrorist attack motivated by racism and white supremacist ideology. From the Wikipedia entry:

Dylann Storm Roof (born April 3, 1994) was named by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the suspected killer… One image on his Facebook page shows him in a jacket decorated with the flags of two former nations noted for their white supremacist policies, apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia… According to his roommate, Roof expressed his support of racial segregation in the United States and had intended to start a civil war…He also often claimed that “blacks were taking over the world”. Roof reportedly told neighbors of his plans to kill people, including a plot to attack the College of Charleston, but his claims were not taken seriously.

Before opening fire, Roof spent nearly an hour with the Bible study group. According to Gawker, “Roof told police he ‘almost didn’t’ kill nine people at Emanuel AME Church Wednesday night ‘because everyone was so nice’ to him,” but eventually he said “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” With that, he opened fire “while shouting racial epithets” on the 12 unarmed worshipers. He killed nine of them and intentionally left one survivor. Two others, one a five-year old child, survived by pretending to be dead. During the carnage, he reloaded five times.

Roof was caught yesterday morning after being tipped off by Debbie Dills, who is white. Dills spotted him on her way to work in North Carolina, called her boss (who called police), and then tailed Roof for another 35 miles until police arrived and arrested him. Roof waived his extradition rights and was brought back to South Carolina where conservative Republican governor Nikki Haley has called for prosecutors to pursue the death penalty. I mention the race of Dills and the politics of Haley for a simple reason: I am deeply saddened that many people, perhaps because they are accustomed to the terminology of Critical Race Theory, seem to believe that the kind of white supremacy behind Roof’s actions is endemic within American society, or at least among white conservatives. It is not. I do not say this to defend political allies, but in the interests of bridging wounds.

I believe we are all in this together. I will not pretend for a moment that we all suffer from racism or sexism or other forms of intolerance and bigotry equally. Clearly we do not, and the long history of violent racial terrorism in the South–which is my home–should not be whitewashed or ignored. I do not believe that we should assume Roof was a lone wolf without first conducting an aggressive investigation to determine what group–if any–lent him material support or advocated his heinous course of action. Calls to take down the Confederate flag are legitimate. So are calls for white people–even those horrified by this action–to engage in some soul-searching about how we view white killers vs. black killers in the mainstream media.

I want to make it clear that in my view there is nothing ambiguous about who Roof is or what he has done. He is a monster who committed an atrocity. I am concerned that there are those who–in understandable shock and outrage, perhaps–believe that Roof has far more allies or sympathizers than he actually does . I am worried that an act like this–which, although the black community obviously bears the tragic cost directly–somehow will be seen as political when it is not. In addition to the personal tragedy faced by the victims and their families, this is a blow struck against the dream of equality and tolerance and understanding, and that is a dream that I believe can be shared (or sometimes neglected) by all Americans.

I pray for Roof to face justice, for his victims to be able to find some measure of peace, and also for us as a nation to find a way to draw closer together rather than farther apart.

“My liberal students terrify me.”

883 - Vox Liberal Students Scare Me

The full quote from this anonymous professor is:

I’m a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me.

Through the rest of this Vox article he does his best to maintain his left-wing creds while at the same time arguing vociferously that social justice warriors have taken over college campuses and implemented an Orwellian regime of a very, very, very emotionally sensitive Big Brother.

In 2015… a complaint would not be delivered in such a fashion [as in 2009]. Instead of focusing on the rightness or wrongness (or even acceptability) of the materials we reviewed in class, the complaint would center solely on how my teaching affected the student’s emotional state. As I cannot speak to the emotions of my students, I could not mount a defense about the acceptability of my instruction. And if I responded in any way other than apologizing and changing the materials we reviewed in class, professional consequences would likely follow.

This is the elevation of subjective perception–call it post-modernism, relativism or whatever you like–over objectivity and realism. And it’s dangerous. Here’s another example (which I alluded to yesterday) from the Vox piece:

This sort of misplaced extremism is not confined to Twitter and the comments sections of liberal blogs. It was born in the more extreme and nihilistic corners of academic theory, and its watered-down manifestations on social media have severe real-world implications. In another instance, two female professors of library science publically outed and shamed a male colleague they accused of being creepy at conferences, going so far as to openly celebrate the prospect of ruining his career. I don’t doubt that some men are creepy at conferences — they are. And for all I know, this guy might be an A-level creep. But part of the female professors’ shtick was the strong insistence that harassment victims should never be asked for proof, that an enunciation of an accusation is all it should ever take to secure a guilty verdict. The identity of the victims overrides the identity of the harasser, and that’s all the proof they need.

The anonymous professor goes on to say “This is terrifying. No one will ever accept that.” And yet, as he knows too well, in at least one part of our society they already have.

Don’t get me wrong, I highly doubt that this particular brand of ideological insanity is about to take over the entire country. On a broad scale, it probably will be rejected, and soon. There’s been a steady drumbeat of articles from the left side of the American political spectrum over the last six months attempting to dismantle and/or disarm this particular section of their coalition. And it will likely succeed. Eventually. The question becomes: how much damage will be done in the interim? And also: how extensive will the rollback be? Because anyone who thinks the victory of reason is inevitable in the short run hasn’t read a lot of history. Think about the most silly, stereotypical caricature of scholasticism (the medieval philosophy known for asking questions about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin). If, at least in the minds of anti-religious progressives, that absurd and irrational philosophy could dominate the elite universities of Europe for centuries, what is their guaranty that an equally absurd and irrational philosophy will not begin its own reign in our day?


Six Policies to Improve Social Mobility

A recent event panel at the Brookings Institution looked at a number of possible policy solutions to improve social mobility for children across the nation. Take notice that most deal with on-the-ground local issues:

  1. Target housing vouchers more effectively.
  2. Build public housing in low-poverty areas, instead of high-poverty areas.
  3. Reform exclusionary zoning laws.
  4. Better enforcement of fair housing rules by HUD.
  5. Invest in infrastructure.
  6. Promote school choice.

Check out the link to see the discussion.