I’ve been emphasizing the bad news, but I do think it’s genuinely good news that well-educated opinion — as opposed to just well-educated behavior — has been moving in a more conservative direction on divorce. (48 percent of college-educated Americans now agree that ‘divorce should be more difficult to obtain,’ up from just 36 percent in the 1970s.) When social conservatives try to envision public policy responses to the crisis of the American family, they’re almost inevitably stymied by the fact that our upper class (which is, by extension, our policymaking class), while increasingly conservative in the way its members arrange their own private lives, remains intensely allergic to the kind of legal and cultural paternalism that certain earlier elites practiced as a matter of course. I’ve suggested before that America would benefit if its upper class showed ‘a willingness to translate some of the more conservative habits they’ve embraced (or partially embraced) in their personal lives into law and public policy,’ but I’ve never seen much reason for optimism that our elite might actually move in this direction. So the fact that there’s been an uptick in college-educated support for reforming divorce laws is better news than I expected — and a sign, perhaps, that the educated class’s present mix of private conservatism and public permissiveness isn’t set in stone.