Harry Neuwirth writes from Salem, Oregn.
There are many reproductive variants in nature, but in humankind, generational momentum resides exclusively in the union of man and woman however casually achieved. From this union children are born and families established, yet the definition of family is frequently and sophistically warped beyond recognition by semanticists and social engineers. The patently obvious fact, the-nose-on-your-face truth, is that the social unit providing the highest assurance of mutual self-interest among its members along with the love and stability that arise from that mutuality is the organic family of father, mother, and children. Only from such stable, confident families can a stable, confident society emerge and sustain itself.
We know perfectly well that such organic families are not always successful; that many families are sundered by the inevitable disagreements inherent in all human relationships, finding critical mass in the emotionally immature whose standard response to disagreement is a stubborn unwillingness to understand, compromise, or forgive. Yet of all conceivable freely-joined human relationships, the traditional family has the greatest potential for success if only because, at the outset of such a union, all members share common objectives and motives. Such voluntary union alongside the freedom to pursue lives of their own choosing is the essence of liberty and the highest assurance of societal success.
Yet standing on the weak argument that some families fail, activists naively suggest that the best interests of individuals and society lie in an assault on the family by the "full resources of the human village," the village thence becoming the fundamental institution in child-rearing as well as in the establishment of social mores and the definition of individual maturity.
Advocates of the village are correct in one respect only: Future social stability depends upon the maturity of the children who will grow up to populate that society. But they are radically wrong in suggesting that the same egocentrism that sometimes infects organic families does not poison the village surrounding them to an even greater degree. Dysfunctional marriages and the families that devolve from them will not be made wholesome by merging them into a society-at-large where the same attributes of dysfunctionality stand in even greater proportion.
These same advocates have blinded themselves to the obvious fact that our free enterprise system thrives on competition, minimizing mutuality in society-at-large. The family is an appropriate antidote to that competitive village. Simply opening "family" to a greater number of participants is a trip into the quicksands of politics.
The best we could hope for in a U.S. consisting of familial villages would be to embrace a common denominator -- under law and the pressure of public opinion -- lower than the one that exists across the spectrum of families today. The traditional American family is the social corollary of free enterprise in the business community, or in the fifty states functioning as they should in our constitutional republic: Each sovereign in its sphere; each providing examples of success and failure; each providing competitive energy to lift the nation and its families to the highest levels of economic, cultural, moral, and personal success. And yes, some will provide examples of failure to avoid in future.
Certainly families fail, sometimes tragically. But most have succeeded, and that level of success would escalate dramatically if public opinion and public policy insisted that all family members meet their responsibilities. But sadly, as responsibility has migrated toward our state and national capitals, responsibility at the local level has diminished proportionately. The most local of all institutions, family, has the most to lose in that transition, a transition that is eviscerating family, potentially transforming it into an exclusively biological unit that will fail to provide the love, inspiration, and discipline that inspire success in democratic institutions.
Destroy America? Destroy family.
Destroy family? Make father irrelevant.
Destroy family? Make mother independent of the economic realities that have driven civilization from the day we came down out of the trees.
Destroy family? Provide children with protection independent of mom, dad, and siblings.
Destroy family? Encourage gay and lesbian marriage and parenthood as did Multnomah County, Oregon, circuit court judge Eric Bloch declaring that the putative female father of a child to a lesbian couple must appear on the birth certificate as such: "Hi grampa; have you had your mammogram this year?" *
"Why, it appears that we appointed all of our worst generals to command the armies and we appointed all of our best generals to edit the newspapers. I mean, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor generals saw all of the defects plainly from the start but didn't tell me until it was too late. I'm willing to yield my place to these best generals and I'll do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper." --Robert E. Lee