ERIC Number: ED323282
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Ten Tentative Truths.
Finn, Chester E., Jr.
The 10 precepts offered in this paper in a spirit of tentativeness respond to the questions, "What ought society do when families crumble?" and "What ought government do when children are endangered?" The following ideas are discussed: (1) public policies and government programs should be differentiated according to the social capital accumulation in the lives of individual children and families; (2) a well-functioning society should speak the truth in public places about social norms that are known to be good for children and about the malignant consequences of deviating from those norms; (3) as a corollery, society members should understand and teach their fellow citizens that once the "normal" arrangements for child-rearing are ruptured, all alternatives are going to be worse; (4) antisocial behavior, not poverty, is the chief cause of the disintegrating family structure; (5) financial incentives cannot alter antisocial behavior and adults must be held legally accountable when they or their children deviate from behavioral norms; (6) social policy should be based on the principle that every child needs the loving care of one or more adults, but public policy cannot guarantee that every child will be loved; (7) private individuals and groups must implement social policy by addressing the moral, behavioral, spiritual, and emotional dimensions of children; (8) children should be removed from dysfunctional families and placed for adoption or in residential schools and orphanages; (9) means must be devised to build up "social capital" within the family and between parent and child; and (10) issues of "behavioral poverty" must be dealt with as firmly and with as much resolve as would be mobilized to meet a major menace to the national defense. (FMW)
Descriptors: Antisocial Behavior, Behavior Standards, Child Welfare, Childhood Needs, Family Problems, Opinion Papers, Policy Formation, Poverty, Public Policy, Social Behavior, Social Capital, Social Problems, Social Values
Center of the American Experiment, 45 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402.
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center of the American Experiment, Minnapolis, MN.
Note: Paper based on keynote address, Center of the American Experiment Inaugural Conference (St. Paul, MN, April 4, 1990).