In the midst the Left blogosphere’s meticulous and data-driven case that conservatives are a bunch of derps defending a bunch of bros, or something, liberal Matt Yglesias drops this interesting discussion:
[B]oth the left and the right envision dealing with this issue through male-to-female cross-subsidies. The difference is that the left wants to provide those cross-subsidies via the welfare state, which will guarantee access to either birth control or prenatal care according to the woman’s preference. The right, by contrast, wants to provide those cross subsidies via marriage with single women who have sex (and their children) simply left to suffer pour encourager les autres. The “fusionist” alliance on the American right has always been grounded in this basic reality. Patriarchal family structures make it possible to get by without a generous welfare state, and an expansive welfare state tends to undermine women’s dependence on men.
There’s a lot to be said about this, but Yglesias’s most important point is this: The welfare state and the family are, in America today, rivals. In our current situation, as one rises, the other diminishes.