The Herald Sun’s resident parenting expert, Andrew Bolt, yesterday bought to the attention of his readers some statistics about the number of children born into single parent families in the USA, and some of the social disadvantages that they face:

Children of unmarried mothers of any race are more likely to perform poorly in school, go to prison, use drugs, be poor as adults, and have their own children out of wedlock.

The black community’s 72 percent rate eclipses that of most other groups: 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. The rate for the overall U.S. population was 41 percent.

There’s no arguing that these are startling figures and that the social impacts that are mentioned deserve serious consideration. Andrew then makes a local comparison:

And in Australia:

Nearly 500,000 single parent families now make up one in five Australian families with children under the age of 15.

So what does Andrew think should be done about this issue?

He doesn’t say. The usually forthright Mr Bolt simply leaves the field open to his readers to make of it what they will.

The result? According to the commenters on Bolta’s blog society is being destroyed by, in no particular order, dead beat dads, family support payments, women who want the baby bonus, the family court, no fault divorce, migrants, gay adoption, hippies and baby boomers, people who speak jive, feminists, and women in general. Yes, it’s a cornucopia of blame and anger in the comments, with casual racism and sexism given a fairly comfortable ride.

I think it’s interesting that Andrew Bolt has built a readership who feel that they can so easily project their own opinions onto him, who believe that he lends authority to their own views, despite the fact that in this case he doesn’t stand for anything. Who thought that Bolta could be so post-modern?

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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