Reader, I know what you’re thinking. This must be cherry picked from the pages of that scandal-ridden anarchist magazine. (It is actually a straightforward summary of a popular article.) Let’s look at what other proponents of abolishing the family have to say in their own words. “We know that the nuclear private household is where the overwhelming majority of abuse can happen. And then there’s the whole question of what it is for: training us up to be workers, training us to be inhabitants of a binary-gendered and racially stratified system, training us not to be queer,” says Sophie Lewis. For her among the most important steps is to “denaturalize the mother-child bond… the idea that babies belong to anyone — the idea that the product of gestational labor gets transferred as property to a set of people.” Children — excuse me, the “products of labor” — being attached to the women who gave birth to them and being raised by them along with their fathers? Whoever thought of such a ridiculous idea.
Lewis’s notion that “children should belong to no one but themselves” seems like a particularly dark and troubling road to go down. Every sexual taboo imaginable has disappeared in recent years with the sole exception of that which surrounds pedophilia. The only thing that keeps it intact is the sacrosanct notion that children cannot make decisions for themselves. “Liberating” children from their parents, legally, morally, and culturally, would break the very last and final line of defense the besieged family has left.
Lewis goes on to offer more practical advice. “States should immediately meet gestational workers’ [i.e., pregnant women’s] demands for more control over their obstetrics, higher pay, and the right to remain involved, if they wish, with client families,” she says, and “implement a sense that it is normal for us to think about babies as made by many people.” Lewis claims to draw upon the influence of black feminists. “Family doesn’t mean what it means in the bourgeois settler imaginary [sic] when you’re talking about black life.”
In the Eighties, the wealth gap that opened up between the educated and less educated due to offshoring and the decline in opportunities for the working class is considered one of the primary causes of family break-ups by sociologists such as Andrew Cherlin, the author of Love’s Labour Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class Family in America. While the working-class family suffered under these economic conditions, family stability increased among the educated. This disparity has in turn exacerbated the wealth gap further. The many demonstrable positive benefits of growing up with two parents are among the many evils of the past from which the working class and the less educated appear to have been liberated.
An abundance of research tells us that the negative effects of family break-ups include emotional and behavioural problems for children, the increased likelihood of mental illness (including depression) later in life, receiving less education, earning less money, holding fewer assets, an increased chance of getting divorced in turn. Children in such situations receive less affection from either parent. They are likelier to trust neither and to have similar feelings toward their future spouses, to be less optimistic about their own marriages, to have a more negative view of people in general. They are forty times more likely to be physically or sexually abused and fifty times more likely to be killed by the step-parents or male partners who are not their fathers. Most, indeed all of these things are absent in many traditional families, but the general statistical trends are undeniable. These are the actual results of the policies that are being pushed by those unlikely ever to experience them upon those who have been lucky enough to have avoided them so far.
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