By Sarah George| June 17th, 2018
“The Future is Female,” a slogan first touted by lesbian separatists in the 1970s, found itself resurrected and rocketed into the mainstream during the 2016 election. Splashed across celebrity chests and canonized by feminist icon—Hillary Clinton—“The Future is Female” became an undergirding ideology of the modern left buttressed by cautionary tales of “toxic masculinity” and rants against the ever-insidious patriarchy. Men, it turns out, are all that is wrong with the West, and if they could only be shuttered away in some sort of patriarchal purdah, the ideal society would finally be realized. Unfortunately, there is an inordinate amount of evidence to the contrary.
For the last 50 years, the men of America have been increasingly absent in homes and communities across the nation. According to both the Brookings Institute and Psychology Today, this trend has left children particularly vulnerable, leading to elevated rates of delinquency, substance abuse, sexual assault, academic dropout, teen pregnancy, physical abuse, and suicide—hardly the markers of a modern utopia. Thus, while progressives have been eagerly championing a coming age where men and “maleness” are obsolete, families throughout America have been suffering under the growing epidemic of fatherlessness.
According to the Center for Disease Control, four out of every ten children born today are born to unwed mothers, and according to the United States Census Bureau, roughly one-fifth of American children currently live in fatherless homes. These numbers shift based on demographics, but the most jarring rates are found in the African American community where both stats hover around a staggering seventy percent. Now, these numbers in no way confer any sort of judgement on the single women that struggle to provide for their families, but there is a significant amount of evidence that, for many communities, single-motherhood is a suboptimal solution. And ultimately, the fact that fatherlessness is a norm, not an exception, is a tragedy—one we have been writing for over fifty years.
The problems began in the 1960s when, under the guise of good intentions, a number of pathologies and practices were introduced to the American psyche that either undermined or directly contradicted the nuclear family. In the mid-sixties, President Lyndon Baines Johnson radically expanded social welfare programs under the banner of his “Great Society.” The accessibility of these programs, according to the Cato Institute, has been “overwhelmingly” linked to out-of-wedlock births with one study finding that an increase of merely $200 a month in welfare benefits corresponded to an 150% increase in unwed births amongst teenagers. Essentially, fathers were supplanted by the federal government thereby making the state “daddy.” However, food stamps notwithstanding, the nuclear family might have prevailed had it not been for the simultaneous ascension and acceptance of casual sex.
The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and 70s was emblematic of the increasing liberalization of the time. Sold as a vehicle of female empowerment, the Sexual Revolution sought to reshape society’s perception of sex and sexuality. It succeeded. By normalizing hit it and quit it behavior, the Sexual Revolution obliterated the societal expectation that marriage ought to precede intimacy. Obligation began and ended with the presence of a condom (maybe), and if that didn’t work, Roe v. Wade was right around the corner. Today, some might even argue that abortion could solve the problem of fatherlessness. After all, a prerequisite of fatherhood is the birth of a child, and if fathers aren’t made, they can’t be missed.
So what is to be done? Clearly, steps need to be taken to respond to what the sixties wrought. To start, a concerted effort needs to be made to not only raise awareness of the crisis, but to also draw a direct correlation between the policies of progressivism and the pervasiveness of fatherlessness. Beyond that, the “marriage penalty” currently in place under the EITC ought to be abolished, and welfare as a whole needs to be scrutinized as a major contributor to the crisis of fatherhood. Furthermore, modern hookup culture needs a swift kick in the pants. The current permissibility of premarital, casual sex, especially amongst teenagers, has inarguably eroded any sense of gravity when it comes to sexual intimacy. Pleasure—not pregnancy—is all that is on the brain, and the rates of out-of-wedlock births and unplanned pregnancies have swollen accordingly. To date, the cost of this flippancy has been family and fathers, and this is a price America can no longer afford to pay. Ultimately, solving the crisis of fatherlessness needs to start with recognizing its origins. Pretending that men spontaneously stopped sticking around, is not only inaccurate, it is slanderous, and this can no longer be society's excuse.
Today, millions of children in America suffer from the effects of fatherlessness. Perpetuated by progressive policies and the perversion of public opinion, this reality is revelatory of society’s steady decay, and its magnitude is utterly shameful. America’s children deserve better than broken homes wrapped in welfare checks, and we have an obligation—a moral imperative—to fight for a future where family is revered and fathers are a fixture.
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