My musings on different political topics relevant to America today.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Family's Decline

Back in 1935, August 14th to be exact, social security was born.  Thus Capitalism in America entered a new age.  That may sound funny to you.  I mean, social security is a socialist program right? Well, technically its goal is not redistribution so it is not.  However, it indeed is progressive, increasing the government's role in our lives.  However, just because social security increased the power of government in America does not mean it made America less Capitalist.  Indeed, it took capitalism to the next level.  Business and government married, and had a son, social security.  Social Security ultimately would increase America economically.  People would no longer have to take time out of their lives to take care of their elderly.  Now, the government would ensure that for them.  Government of course benefited, because it grew larger.  Thus, both business and government benefited from social security.  There was however, one casualty of the program, the family.

The family had traditionally played are large role in most societies.  Families created along blood ties were established to take care of its members.  The family's chief responsibilities was to take care of its members.  The weakest members of course were the main beneficiaries of this responsibility, while the strongest had to expend their resources to take care of the weakest.  The very old and the very young had to be taken care of in this arrangement by the family.

However, when social security came along, it took a huge responsibility away from the family.  Now the family was no longer in charge of taking care of its very old, now its only responsibility was to take care of its young.  Thus the family in America shrunk.  The elderly became increasingly relegated to the corner of American society while the so-called "nuclear" family reigned supreme.  More distant family connections became more and more tenuous because they no longer shared in taking care of their common parents, and soon disappeared almost entirely as such relationships became unnecessary.

Thus family shrunk while government and business grew.  The triangular relationship was thrown off kilter.  Government and business decided to throw a party and not invite the family.  This would define the trends in America indefinitely to the present.

Legislation passed by the government will serve
business and sacrifice the family.
Which now forces us to pose a question.  What will happen next?  The family has become more fragmented as this unholy alliance between government and business has fomented.  The feminist movement further accelerated this trend, for being in business had been considered a higher calling than taking care of the family, and soon women wished to achieve higher status by forsaking their families along with their husbands who had already been doing just that for a long long time.  However, since neither parent was willing to sacrifice the higher calling of a career for their kids, the government was forced to take on a bigger responsibility in raising America's children.  Slowly government encroached more and more on what used to be the parent's responsibility.  Children were forced to enroll in extracurricular activities at school to keep them out of their parents' hair longer.  The hours kids had to stay in school increased year to year, and summer break became shorter and shorter because parents hated the inconvenience it caused them.

This trend has only just begun, and will continue to increase.  Slowly the government would usurp the responsibility of child rearing, just as it has usurped the responsibility of taking care of the elderly.  Sooner or later summer break will disappear.  A government sponsored daycare will be created.  Kids will live in dorm environments at school just as they do in college.  Everyone will be on board with these developments.  Democrats will love the idea because it rings with egalitarian sympathies.  The poor single moms will at last be able to pursue a career while raising their kids.  Bad choices will have their consequences minimized because raising children will no longer burden everyone who cannot afford "childcare." It will equalize the playing field.  Now the poor as well as the rich would be able to afford selling off their kids to professional parents.  The rich would have little reason to oppose it, for it simply will be an extension of the public school system, and their money would go to their kids, not someone elses.  The fact the program will lack a redistributive element to it for the most part would put alot of Republicans on board that wouldn't otherwise.

It will happen slowly, like most things do.  We will lose our kids without even realizing it.  By the time this comes to fruition, no one will even care.  Having government taking care of our kids will be seen as a given just as its a given we have no responsibility to take care of our parents when they are elderly.

The reason this is inevitable is because the family is falling apart.  Their is no question about it.  Divorce rates are through the roof.  The percentage of single parents is rising.  The fundamentals that made families functional for raising children are falling apart.  Raising your family is seen as a lesser priority to pursuing your career.  Investing in the long term prospects of your children is no longer about developing them morally but turning them into money making machines.  Now that we no longer value the intangible values that only a parent can give, and that we only value cold hard cash, raising children in a traditional sense would no longer be seen as necessary shortly enough.  Our aggressive business culture insists that the traditional family give way to an arrangement more conducive for workaholism.

If all we care about is how much money we make,
it makes sense that sooner or later the traditional
family will be sacrificed for a more
lucrative modern arrangement.
Not to mention every time the family has declined the government has responded, not by propping up the family, but by simply taking over its responsibilities.  It has done this through the schools, and will continue to do it.  It provides amenities to single parent households, removing the consequences of disintegrating a family.  Indeed, a big reason the family in black communities has fallen apart was that the "great society" implemented by LBJ would only give money to a household if it was a single parent household.  When industry declined in the US and many black men found themselves jobless, the logical and sensical thing to do was to abandon their family because their family would actually be better off that way.  That is just one example.

Government and business have done much to create a climate in which the family is unnecessary.  Some may see this as simply another step in the "progress" of our society.  Now we are just one big happy family now right? However I do not think most see it that way.  Those like me that believe the family is important should fight hard to defend it before it falls off a cliff.  Time is running out, lets fight for the family.

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