Properties of Blood, II: 0, Part C. The Indestructible Family

The family is universal, an inevitable institution created out of our very nature.  Governments did not invent it, and most, if not all state interventions into the family are destructive.  This is clear, not just from the policies that undermine family autonomy--compulsory schooling, laws on delinquency and child abuse, no-fault divorce--but even more from tax policies that confiscate (in my own case) over half the family’s household income to waste on pernicious follies like orbiting Defense systems and the subsidies for indolence, crime, and illegitimacy which in polite usage are called Welfare.  We have to quit talking about what governments can do to save the family and concentrate on undoing all their massive efforts to impoverish families and undermine their autonomy.

The family is not some rare exotic art form, like stained glass, whose secrets must be preserved and drilled into generation after generation of human beings.  Two dumb kids brought up on a desert island would reinvent marriage and family without any prompting.  Marriage and family are natural institutions, and although they can be corrupted, distorted, and damaged by human arrogance and folly, the results will always be the same: social collapse followed by a renewal of all the ancient and beautiful things without which human life is impossible.  If we could ever succeed in lifting the dead hand of government from our everyday lives--cutting taxes and rolling back virtually all the social legislation of the past 100 years--we should not have to worry about the family.  American families would take care of themselves, as they have always done.

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina