We have a culture that subordinates families and marriage. We have government policies that subsidize and exploit single woman raising their children without a father. The working class that capitalism helped raise from the bondage of grinding poverty over the past 200 years and the upward mobility that capitalism created was dependent on the structure of families to help raise an industrious and virtuous next generation that would continue the upward climb for all people.
As the author Charles Murray stated, “families are where the stuff of life happens”. Daniel Patrick Moynahan the former Democratic US Senator from New York and renowned academic sociologist warned of the demise of the family that would result from the great society programs of the mid-1960s. We are seeing how prescient his predictions were back in his day.
In Western societies families have evolved from the “corporate” family to the “nuclear family” and today we are seeing the “convenient family”.
Through the first 150 years in our country, we had a rural agrarian-based society, and many family members were required to work the land and run the farm. The family unit was a large clan with cousins and grandparents close by. The burdens of life were taken on by the family whose tight knit structure provided protection from unexpected burdens. The untimely death of a parent or a child was shared by the clan. In 1910 only 6% of adults between the ages of 20 and 35 were unmarried and only 10% of married couples had no children. In 2010 that number had risen to 25% and 35%.
As manufacturing overtook agriculture in our country woman and children at an early age were put into the labor force. Upward mobility was the goal of every family, and if one generation of immigrant families had to work in “sweat shops”, most of them were able to pass on a much better quality of life and standard of living to the next generation. Millions of enslaved Black men and women saw the ravages of chattel slavery demolish their families over many generations. In a few small regions and instances benevolent slave holders kept families together and when universal emancipation became not only a political reality, but also provided economic opportunity, these were the families that survived and thrived even in the age of Jim Crow. If ever there was an argument for “the family” this would be it. Looking back, they have proven to be as Booker T. Washington opined “the trunk of the tree”. In the struggle to survive the family, in both instances provided resiliency, hope, and a path toward faith and belief in God. Qualities in individuals that make nations great.
In large cities with large immigrant populations, churches and large families continued to support “the clan” in times of need. There were still poor people, and the indigent and those living on the margins were taken care of by individual and private institutional charitable organizations, some which continue their service to the common good today. People were seldom “alone”. Names like Catholic Charities—that unfortunately has become a quasi-government agency, YMCA, Cottillion, Union league, and the charities in the Baptist and Mormon Churches survive and thrive today, despite government efforts to control their organizations.
After WWII, the “nuclear family evolved”. With a working father and a mother who stayed at home with her 2.8 children. Again, the needs of children and those living on the margins were attended to by families working within themselves, but many times by being connected via church or social organizations to members of a neighborhood. When I grew up neighbors looked after each other and each other’s families.
Today in modern marriages according to a recent Sept 9th article by David Brooks in The New York Times the family takes a back seat to careers for both men and women. Children are an afterthought.
I know in my own life this was the case for many years as it was in the lives of many professionals and those who serve in the military. Without the benefit of great wealth, leaving the raising of children to others, or a spouse in the home, 110-hour work weeks or 9-month deployments are impossible. This may help explain why so many upper-class abortions have questionable medical indications for the termination of the pregnancy, leading one to believe that convenience is an indication in many cases.
As Fr. Robert Spitzer the former President of Gonzaga University has stated children have become a burden or at best an afterthought instead of “little eternities brought into the world as part of a transcendental and intrinsically good plan”. Eternities and transcendentals last far greater than a 7 1/2-year career—or a 50-year career for that matter.
For 15000 years and in all cultures the family has taken on different forms, with different roles for parents—but always with the goal of raising children so they too can carry on with the hope of a better future for their children—UNTIL NOW. Now children in some homes are a postscript or an appendix to a career and the teaching of “the stuff of life” including the disciplines of faith and reason are left to government bureaucrats and the public schools. How is that working out?
The reason we work, sacrifice, and build professional lives and businesses is to make the world a better place for our children. I am going to support political candidates and political parties and causes that have FAMILY as the center of their platforms. Pro Life, pro work ethic, Pro Constitution, and Pro God and Family.
I will continue to “Render unto Cesar….” —I did send all my boys to parochial schools and private colleges because I didn’t trust the “public” side of education, but I will work forever to stop government bureaucrats—the least likely group to have children themselves by the way. How can one teach about The Big Bang without teaching about Genesis? How can one be anymore “woke” than “What you do to the least of my brethren you do unto me”, or “do unto others…”
The whole purpose of politics is to secure a better future for our children.
“As it was in the beginning it is now and ever shall be.”