There is no doubt that the ideas expressed by authors Dr. Allan C. Carlson and Mr. Paul T. Mero at The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium on Friday, September 7, 2007, could not have come at a more appropriate time in history of this country, when there is an absolute need for fundamental changes in the structure of the American family.
According to host Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, the American family is in serious crisis. Sixty out of every hundred children in this country today come from families out of wedlock. Forty out of every hundred children live in single-parent households. This is the same when compared with European countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Beyond a doubt, all see the family as the most important institution in society. The relentless efforts of authors Allan Carlson and Paul Mero should be seen as a shining light to all who would like to “rediscover the fundamental source of joy and freedom” that can be found in a happy family. There are still some skeptics within this society who are unwilling “to preserve this wholesome relationship on earth.”
It is the considered view of the host of this historical event, Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, and the distinguished authors of the book, “The Natural Family”: A Manifesto, that the breakup of the natural family has its origins in the tremendous changes that took place in Europe during the period of the Industrial Revolution. Europe saw the significant growth of manufacturing businesses as well as the corporate world. Unfortunately, it also led to the decline of the “natural” family and the consequent family crisis that is seen today in the western world. The impact on the “natural” family has been devastating. Much has been said about this by classical writers such as Charles Dickens. It is the view of these modern-day authors too, that the French Revolution which brought with it its call for socialism and leftist ideas, also had its negative effects on the “natural” family.
Despite the crisis in the American family, however, the authors of The Natural Family: A Manifesto are very optimistic and hopeful. Their call to resuscitate the pro-family movement could not have come at a better time, as everyone sees the sad impact of the breakup of the “natural” family. This is seen, especially, on young children who definitely lose the fundamental and in some cases, the physiological needs that children deserve. They lose the love, attention, understanding, approval, acceptance, and the parental guidance that is absolutely essential for the proper growth and well-being of children, especially when they are in school. Children who come from homes with both parents predictably do better in school.
The crisis in the family has not only had its unfavorable impact on the children, but in several cases it has led to domestic violence and the rapid growth of numerous state sponsored agencies to deal with the consequences of the sad decline of the “natural” family. It has led to the rapid growth of welfare states, Child and Family agencies, therapeutic organizations, and the growth of the security forces and prisons.
The call by the distinguished authors and hosts of this event at The Heritage Foundation to uphold the sacred institution of marriage, to return to the “natural” family, to focus on creating and strengthening the family unit, must be seen as a road map for rebuilding the culture of freedom, joy and love. Indeed, the book, “The Natural Family: A Manifesto,” puts the family structure in the right direction, and it is “nothing short of a blueprint for western survival.”
Nirmala Punnusami is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.