Nanny Tries to Resurrect Pappy

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This recent story has gone virtually unnoticed. It is a report that the federal government — yes, our very own nanny-state — has funded anew one of its many websites: www.fatherhood.gov. The site is devoted to teaching American men and — let’s not be sexist! — American women how to be good fathers.

The site gives just tons of terrific tips about being a good dad, such as: it is the father’s job to provide healthy meals for his kids, and actually to eat meals with them. (This is a revelation: I thought that since the government is advertising to get people to apply for food stamps, the rolls for which have swollen to an all-time high of 47 million, it is in fact the government’s job to feed the kids.) And there is other vital information, available nowhere else. There is a video about how to wash your hands, with narration that instructs: “Wet hands under running water, add soap, and rub all parts of the hands and fingers for 15 seconds.”

The things you can learn from government! I never knew you had to use soap!

The site offers some even more desperately needed videos on reading, “constructive play,” and — most amazing — brushing your teeth.

There is a richly layered irony in this. Begin with the fact that the website was funded most recently by the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act. The idea that deficit reduction is advanced by funding completely superfluous government websites is self-evidently ridiculous.

Now add the bigger point. Here we are, nearly 30 years after the publication of Charles Murray’s Losing Ground, the definitive analysis of the massive destruction brought to the American family (and society) by the benighted changes to the welfare programs in the early 1960s. The new form of welfare basically paid young girls to make horribly bad life choices, mainly to have children too young and out of wedlock. The illegitimacy rate in the inner city spiraled out of sight, hitting 25% by the mid-1960s (when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his famous report on the black family crisis). In the inner city, the first of the month was dubbed “Father’s Day,” in grimly humorous recognition of the fact that the only “father” in these broken welfare families was Uncle Sam.

Over the decades since, the welfare state’s iatrogenic pathology has spread from the inner city to mainstream America. Now over 70% of all black children, 50% of Hispanic children, and 25% of non-Hispanic white children are born out of wedlock. The rate of illegitimacy for all American births is currently 41%, and for American women under 30, it is a stunning 53%.

So the richest irony of all is that the nanny state that did so much to eliminate fatherhood is now trying to train men to be fathers.

In fine, now that nanny has choked pappy to death, she is trying to resurrect him.




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Comments

Rodney Choate

Off topic a little, but not completely, but I feel I must take this opportunity to reiterate a point I've made here in a previous reply.

As libertarian minded people (many even having anarchist leanings, which I think is a mistake) I think the readers here should be open to the possibility of another great cause of the destruction of the family- state involvement in the marriage and family business, via. the marriage and family laws.

I leave it to intellectually curious and intellectually honest readers to look for themselves to see how state meddling in this moral matter greatly facilitates relationship destruction. For now I only point out that the government destroys anything it touches if it is something that it should not be touching. These days there are more and more people realizing the point I'm now making. Ron Paul has said this in answer to the gay marriage question, though not as loudly as I would like.

Along this thinking it discourages me to still see "wedlock" as the standard being used to judge the potential success of the family and child well being. Government "marriage" is a failed institution that does NOTHING for the family or children. No well intentioned parent has any need for government marriage, and no ill intentioned parent can be made to act properly by it. In fact, to the contrary, family law and the courts give the worst parents the most opportunity to damage the kids- my experience being a good case in point, but we have all heard the horror stories.

I do think the "family" is important, but government marriage is no standard to judge it by.

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