Whenever Brit columnist Peter Hitchens, a curmudgeonly conservative, suggests that government policies are wrong to undermine the institution of marriage (through the tax and benefits system), he is accused of “moral preaching.”

“Within ten minutes you will have been sprayed with accusations that you are ‘making war on single mothers’. Argue that schools really have no business demonstrating the use of condoms to the young, and once again you will be denounced as a would-be televangelist, suspect and disreputable, with no business in our value-free national debate,” writes Hitchens.

Liberals are just as preachy, sez Hitchens. They’re against smoking and judgmental attitudes about adolescent sexual experimentation, for example. But maybe the gospel preached by liberals hasn’t had an uplifting effect on the young?

Hitchens argues: 

Given that all the social evidence shows that children from stable homes with two parents are more likely to do well at school, more likely to do productive work when they grow up, less likely to take to crime than those who come from fractured and fatherless homes, why doesn’t the state use the sort of efforts it uses to curb smoking, to encourage marriage?

In logic, all these things are a mystery. If those who are in charge of us were consistent, or even honest, thn they would see that these contradictory polices were a nonsense. But they don’t, because they don’t want to know. To think seriously about modern Britain is to realize that liberal solutions have failed, not just by the standards of people such as me, but on their own terms. We should have got to utopia long ago, if these ideas worked. But they don’t, and they never will, which is why some of us will continue to preach against them from our pulpits, no matter how much slime we are pelted with.

(Thanks to Kathy Shaidle for spotting this item.)