Judd Apatow:  comic visionary, insightfully raunchy, slacker hero… conservative crusader? Ross Douthat smartly makes the case that Apatow is leading the charge in making socially conservative lifestyles seem cool to a young, hip—and receptive—crowd, especially with his recently released Funny People.  It isn't the first time Apatow has been profiled by the Times for his commitment to family values.  And Apatow's work isn't the only evidence that the next generation of families is steadily trending towards the right.

In fact, there are plenty of signs that—however politically liberal they are when it comes to individual and civil rights—many in the younger generations are adopting relatively socially conservative day-to-day lifestyles compared to their wild and crazy Baby Boomer parents.  Back in 2007, the New York Observer reported on the “New Victorian” trend of twenty-somethings preferring to settle down and marry young rather than play the field. The New York Times has reported on women going to elite colleges with a career intention of motherhood.

Why this change in direction? Why do relatively conservative lifestyles now seem to be accompanied by socially liberal political stances?  The answers to these questions remain unclear, and the political implications of these realities may only be beginning to come to light.  In the meantime, two Big Thinkers provide their own thoughts on America’s changing values: Andrew Kohut and Chuck Close.