Family Ties: Why Family Units Matter to Society
By Gabrielle Temaat
Our era is one in which we’ve lost a sense of the sacred. The nihilism that plagues our communities has caused a severing of social order from sacred order. In result, there exists an indifference toward and disarray within sacred institutions- the family unit being one of the most evident with a fifty percent divorce rate. This indifference is a symptom of rampant individualism that threatens the family structure and destroys community in very real ways.
Evidence of the decay of the family and the loss of a sense of duty to it is abounding. The devaluation of children is one of the most prominent, as exemplified by the abortion regime. Further, over forty percent of all children are born out of wedlock. The vitality of these things is demonstrated when children suffer as a result of broken homes.
We are seeing the decline overall wellbeing as a result of deteriorating family structures, particularly the absence of fathers. Over 70 percent of black children are born to an unmarried mother. Over 80 percent of young people in prison grew up in a fatherless household. 26 of the 27 deadliest shootings were committed by boys who grew up without fathers. These children are also five times more likely to commit crimes and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. The success of the family is the catalyst of a society’s rise and its failure is the cause of an angry and chaotic people.
The family is the foundation of civilization and the glue that holds it together. It is historically the first, and most basic, institution. The family provides the formation of morals, discipline, and a place of belonging for children. It is where humble and productive adults are formed and crucial skills are acquired. It’s where children learn how to handle disagreements and love others sacrificially.
Many of our founding fathers and classical thinkers knew of the weight that the family unit carries. James Madison warned that the failure of the family could not be compensated for by the government. When the family collapses, and does not train a nation’s young people, the government is incapable of instilling those lost habits. Alexis De Tocqueville claimed that the faithfulness of husbands and wives breeds social trust on which a society can thrive. Adam Smith knew well “that the butcher endures the blood upon his hands, and the baker the heat of his ovens, not solely from a self-interest narrowly construed, but because of their duties to their families.” Family is—and has always been—a crucial building block of society.
Reestablishing the family’s primacy requires that we support the family legislatively, promote a society in which the family is at the center, and work tirelessly to protect our own families and those around us.
Gabrielle Temaat is a senior at Arizona State University studying economics. She is currently working as a writing tutor at ASU and a communications intern at the Acton Institute.