Too Steep a Price: Why the Liberal Family Died

Too Steep a Price: Why the Liberal Family Died, by Allan Carson.

Over half a century ago, the family system advocated by John Locke and modeled on Lockean liberalism seemed to have triumphed completely in the United States, in Western Europe, and globally. In that model, marriage is viewed as a contract between equals, in which fathers are allowed to take on the “soft patriarchal” roles of breadwinner and nominal head of household. Married life centers on the procreation and rearing of children as free and rational beings preparing to manage their own economic affairs. …

Today, of course, all lies in ruin. The Lockean family model has now delivered low fertility and depopulation; a massive retreat from marriage (by heterosexuals, at least); a surge in what we once quaintly called “illegitimate births”; a growing horde of fatherless, unemployable, and unmarriageable young men; the complete triumph of sexual radicalism; and a new totalitarianism, imposing the once strange ideas of “gay marriage” and transgenderism on all, especially children. The speed at which this transition has occurred has been staggering. …

Locke held that women have a natural instinct to be attached to their children and to protect them. While men must be tricked into family living, settling down comes naturally to women. Thus, in Locke’s scheme, women consent to soft patriarchy as the price they must pay to keep a man in the home.

Eventually, some proponents of the liberal order saw that as too steep a price to pay. Instead, to gain the equality promised them by liberalism, women must overcome their maternal instincts—they must break their “affective ties” to children, to fellow humans, and to nature itself. At that point, the liberal contract breaks down. As women renounce their innate purpose, men lose their artificially created one, and the liberal marriage system dissolves.

hat-tip Stephen Neil