Revolt of the Fatherless

Revolt of the Fatherless. By Stephen Baskerville.

First we must understand that this crash of civilization is a revolt of adolescents — some superannuated, but adolescents all the same.

It represents the culmination of a power shift, from the mature to the immature, that accelerated during the 1960s: “The times they are a-changin’,” as Bob Dylan sang. Both Cancel Culture, with its contempt for civil liberties, and Black Lives Matter, with the violence and destruction it rationalizes, are perpetrated by those with a smattering of university education, young militants under the sway of their predecessors from the 1960s.

Bob Dylan and feminist Joan Baez

The media collusion is largely explicable in like manner. The manipulable, twenty-something journalism and political science graduates head out into the media world and make it like themselves. I have taught many such students (including conservative ones), and I know how intoxicated they become with their own righteousness and unaccountable power.

But why has this generation been so easily radicalized, and why does their rebelliousness enjoy such free rein? Why has the older generation lost its nerve? Something subtle but sinister has been at work in the intervening decades since the 1960s. The young have not simply been “empowered” to revolt against their elders; most of today’s youth have never known effective parental authority to begin with.

Fatherlessness is at the root of the subtle decay:

This suggests the origins of our malaise to be in something conservatives should understand but do not: government’s systematic destruction of families. More precisely, it demonstrates further fallout from … the elimination of fathers from the lives of tens of millions of children, the effects of which long ago transformed poor communities into war zones and now wreak havoc in middle-class society as well. Adolescents rage out of control because they never had any paternal authority to keep them under control and teach them how to channel their emerging discontent with the world’s imperfections into constructive dissent and productive habits of life.

Fatherlessness (not poverty or race) already accounts for every social pathology among the young: the violent criminality, substance abuse, and truancy that draw police to ungovernable minority and poor neighborhoods, where they themselves face criminalization for trying to fight crime. Fatherless youth suffer disproportionate emotional disturbance and self-destructive disorders …. These youth also indulge more in smoking, overeating, and other unhealthy practices. …

While some rise above their origins, fatherless youth are much more likely to be dysfunctional, self-destructive, and — in ways that lack purpose or direction — rebellious. The effect is compounded when entire communities have hardly a father among them for generations.

None of this is controversial. Mainstream conservatives quote the statistics. Liberals even jumped on the bandwagon with the elaborate (but useless) Responsible Fatherhood Initiative of the Clinton administration (later refashioned into Bush’s equally ineffectual Healthy Marriage Initiative). What neither did, nor do, is fix the problem.

If people today feel “disconnected,” the sensation may be tied to an absence of fathers, whose role is teaching them to engage with the world, conquer their fears and anxieties, and channel their insecurities into constructive endeavors.

A society increasingly run by the half-educated:

Now, with fatherlessness overwhelming middle-class communities, a new stage in the devastation emerges. The half educated intellectualize their dysfunctional rebelliousness using political ideologies, allowing them to collectivize their fury. Radical movements infuse apolitical social resentments and unfocused petty rebellions. …

In short, social anomie has mutated into systematic revolt. With fathers and men emasculated, no effective resistance impedes the fictional utopia of the radicals. …

Feminism went too far:

Why is fatherlessness so debilitating, both individually and socially? Because where motherhood is biologically inevitable, fatherhood constructs the social order. Philosopher Thomas Hobbes credited patriarchal authority with a central role in leaving the state of nature and entering civilized society. …

Only with the advent of civilized society — where “patrimonial laws” operate — did sovereign authority over children migrate to the father. Yet today we are reversing to this stage of civilizational development and reverting to matriarchy. Our revolt targets both fathers and civilization itself. …

The fatherhood crisis results not from impersonal social forces … It is rather an insurrection: a deliberate and collective attack against actual fathers. This trend has been building for centuries, and it has accelerated with new sexual ideologies that target fatherhood (“patriarchy”) directly: feminism, homosexuality, transgenderism, and more. …

This natural paradigm is attacked by radical sexual ideology and its institutionalization in government welfare and existing divorce laws. These structures empower officials to “divide and rule” parents by turning fathers and their authority into objects of invective or ridicule and by turning children into narcissistic and nihilistic rebels. As a result of feminist ideology, “the most striking characteristic of our time is that the mother resents the father,” writes Schwartz, and resentment (as Nietzsche and others understood) is the most poisonous emotion in politics. In the milieu of resentment, “the way for the children to become again the object of mother’s love is by joining her in her hatred of the father and the attendant wish to destroy him.” …

This precisely describes today’s revolt, beginning with adolescent children of welfare and involuntary divorce, who almost universally hate their fathers with an animus that is visceral and irrational.

Not only fathers but the entire regimen of paternal authority, as established in civilizational norms, are targeted for destruction: the father replaces unconditional love and acceptance with rules and limits and is therefore the archetypal oppressor. Liberation is defined by his destruction and rebellion against his rules. …

Society then becomes a massive collective rebellion. It starts with our individual petty resentments, but these merge into our seeming altruism and solidarity with the larger community of the oppressed and marginalized. …

Replacing fathers with the state and bureaucrats:

State machineries routinely and forcibly separate millions of legally unimpeachable fathers from their children, strip them of their patrimony, and incarcerate them without trial or record. From dishonest witch hunts against so-called deadbeat dads to trumped-up accusations of domestic violence, governments have orchestrated hysterical vilification campaigns against millions of their own citizens, who have been convicted of no crimes.

Witch hunts against fathers might be seen as rehearsals for further government abuses. … Methods and rationalizations developed for forcibly separating children from fathers have already been applied against homeschoolers and other parents accused of ill-defined “abuse,” and those same strategies are now being used to remove children from parents who have ignored mask mandates and lockdowns. …

The state’s playacting as the “all-knowing mother” demands docility from naturally outgoing men, inhibits and prohibits masculine endeavors like work and civic leadership, and appeals to feminine fear, encouraging “a feminized identity, one that values security above all.”

Their champion — excellent family life, excellent politics

This feminized conditioning has long operated in the vast welfare underworld that most people find too dreary to understand. It is the world of social work, child psychology, child and family counseling, child care, child protection, foster care, child support enforcement, juvenile and family courts, and public education (which conservatives do challenge, but by then it is too late). Its matriarchs are quasi-police civil servants who devour vast resources managing other people’s children. Bureaucrats are now “the hand that rocks the cradle.”

Any suggestions?

First, we must expunge from the law the indefensible oxymoron of no-fault justice as applied to marriage and everything else. At a stroke, this devious legal subterfuge fatally undermined two bedrock institutions of western civilization: marriage and common law. …

Rectifying this law will facilitate the larger challenge of dismantling the socialist-feminist welfare behemoth, which institutionalizes this source of abuse.

State-mandated feminization was inflicted first upon the poor and then upon others. Devouring one-fourth of our GDP, this underworld criminalizes breadwinning men, embitters single mothers, empowers radical apparatchiks, and disfigures (morally and physically) innocent children. It also impoverishes all of us and entrenches leftists in public office.

Patriarchal societies out-compete matriarchal ones. As the west abandons patriarchy, it will eventually be surpassed by more patriarchal societies, despite its large head start.

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hat-tip Stephen Neil