Blankenhorn concludes that the primary source of the family's decline is the cultural elevation of expressive individualism, rather than economic and political factors. I do not agree that cultural elements can be separated from their social context; recognition of historical influences upon cultural values offers hope that we may be able to effect needed change in the present and the future.
Grandmothers may be worth listening to, but they're not all on front porches: some are in board rooms, in legislative chambers and in line outside voting booths as well as public toilets. They know that hand-wringing over lost virtue will not stop "the decline."
Some grandmothers speak out (if only by writing letters to the editor) in order to change that which is changeable in the sociopolitical world. They lobby for humanistic responses to the "new realities" (e.g. medical services, flex-time in the workplace, child care, etc.) knowing that only by effecting such responses can we combat a trend toward dehumanization and its terrible social consequences.
B. J. BARNES