Maggie Gallagher
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The most urgent overlooked need is the deep need of boys for masculine ideals. If civilization refuses to provide any, porn and video-game makers will step in to fill the gap.

Why should young men work hard to become protectors and defenders of women and children when American culture -- and women -- tells them they are not needed in either role?

So in this, my final column, I say my farewell to optimism and my hello to hope.

What is the difference? Optimism is a prediction; hope is a virtue.

My hope rests on this: The truths to which I've dedicated my life, both professionally and personally, are too important to ignore, too foundational to be abandoned, too much a part of reality to be lost forever.

Do not abandon politics. It is one important means to create culture -- to name our shared reality.

But we need, as well, a next generation of culture creators, of storytellers, with the credentials to name reality: empirical social scientists, novelists, poets, preachers and filmmakers.

We need donors to invest in building the networks and communities through which such voices are born, flourish and give meaning to the lives of millions.

The future belongs to those of us with enough hope to rebuild on the ashes of optimism, a new American civilization -- uniting sex, love, babies, mothers and fathers in this thing called marriage.

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Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.