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The Crisis of the Family, Not Social Distancing, Is Making Americans Lonely

Although it has become commonplace to assume that measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus has caused people to feel more alone, Lyman Stone argues that available statistical evidence suggests that, in general, Americans report feeling no more lonely in 2020 than they did in 2019. But a closer look at the data reveals something else:

Married people were the least likely to describe themselves as lonely in 2019, and 2020 and saw no change in their reports of loneliness from 2019. Separated, cohabiting, and dating people all saw declines in their loneliness indices from 2019 to 2020—but loneliness rose slightly for people with no partner. While people with more children were less lonely than those with fewer or no children in 2019, this gradient became steeper in 2020: people with two or more children were less lonely in 2020 than in 2019, while people with one or no children were lonelier.

In other words, the least lonely people were those who were married with kids, and the loneliness gap between those people and childless singles (the loneliest people, by their own reports) grew wider between 2019 and 2020.

Moving beyond family, in terms of sexual partners, the least lonely people were those with precisely one reported sexual partner in the prior two years.

Combined with the lack of correlation between more sexual partners and loneliness, this suggests that the lower reports of loneliness among marrieds or parents is not simply related to having extra people around, but it is specifically related to having family around.

Read more at Institute for Family Studies

More about: American society, Coronavirus, Family

A Senior Saudi Political Figure Takes the Palestinian Leadership to Task

In an extended television interview with an Arab broadcaster, Prince Bandar bin Sultan—who served for twenty years as the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., for a decade as head of the Saudi National Security Council, and two years as intelligence chief—responded forcefully to the Palestinian claim that the Gulf states have, by normalizing relations with Israel, “stabbed the Palestinians in the back.” Defending Saudi devotion to the Palestinian cause, Prince Bandar delivered a lengthy history of his country’s role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which he bluntly upbraided Palestinian leaders, and Yasir Arafat above all, for squandering chances at statehood and for their lack of “ethics.” While Bandar’s sentiments can hardly be described as pro-Israel, he asserted that the Palestinian leaders are every bit as responsible as the Jewish state for the plight of their people:

[After the UN issued its 1947 Resolution 181 for partitioning Palestine], a Jewish state called Israel was recognized, which became a member of the United Nations. As for the Arab side, the Palestinians rejected the resolution, and as usual, we [Saudis] supported their rejection. Many years later, the main demand of our Palestinian brothers has been UN resolution 181, which is no longer on the table. No one is discussing it now. This was the beginning, and such events, as I mentioned, were repeated once, twice, and three times.

After the Oslo Accords, I asked Abu Amar, [i.e., Arafat], God rest his soul—and as they say remember the virtues of your dead—what he thought of the autonomy provisions [offered to the Palestinians under the 1978] Camp David Treaty. He said, “Bandar, Camp David’s autonomy provisions were ten times better than the Oslo Accords.” I said, “Well, Mr. President, why did you not agree to it?” He said, “I wanted to, but Hafez al-Assad threatened to kill me and to drive a wedge among the Palestinians, turning them against me.” I thought to myself, so he could have been one martyr and given his life to save millions of Palestinians, but it was as God willed it.

Bandar recounts another incident where he came to Arafat with an offer from the Reagan administration to pressure Israel into making concessions to the Palestinians, but Arafat stalled pointlessly until the offer expired. In short, Bandar’s view of things reflects the old adage “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Read more at Al Arabiya

More about: Israel-Arab relations, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Yasir Arafat