The calamity of making social experimentation into policy

At a certain age it becomes difficult to tell whether people are kidding you.

The other day I heard someone say that government troops were prepared to confront seemingly law-abiding American families — something about objecting to foreign nationals being forced into their communities. I mistook it for a joke.

In my embarrassment I was forced to remember making the same mistake back in the 1970s. They would come to our editorial board meetings to tell us about better ways, different ways, of doing things. I thought they were joking, too.

Particularly, they thought the nuclear family was passé. They presented alternative models — put them into action, actually, and in numbers that were impressive.

They were excited about a model headed by a single mother, newly empowered in the workforce, in the divorce court and, most importantly, in the social welfare system. Indeed, they spoke about giving aid to anyone down on their luck — able-bodied men even, regardless of citizenship, few questions asked…