“The defining issue for me,” writes UK journalist Melanie Phillips, writing in the London Daily Mail, “the one that launched me on a personal trajectory of confrontation with the Left and with my colleagues and friends — was the persistent undermining of the family as an institution:
By the late Eighties, it was glaringly obvious that families were suffering a chronic crisis of identity and self-confidence.
There were more and more divorces and single parents — along with mounting evidence that family disintegration and the subsequent creation of step-families or households with no father figure at all did incalculable damage to children.
‘Too many children lack a consistent mother or father figure,’ researchers told me.
Poverty, the Left’s habitual excuse, could not be the culprit since middle-class children were also not receiving the parental attention they required.
For me, the traditional family is sacred because it embodies the idea that there is something beyond the selfish individual.
But it was being turned into a mere contract that either side could break more or less at will.
I listened to the evidence of those with no particular ideological fixation or agenda, but who simply spoke of what they saw was happening.
From Zelda West-Meads of the marriage guidance counsellors Relate, I learned that, though many single mothers did a heroic job, it was the absence of the father that did such terrible damage to their children. So I described how fathers were vital to the emotional health of children.
Fatherless families were also at least partly responsible for a national breakdown in authority and rising levels of crime.
My view was backed in 1992 when three influential social scientists with impeccable Left-wing pedigrees produced a damning report.
From their research, they concluded that children in fractured families tend to suffer more ill-health, do less well at school, are more likely to be unemployed, more prone to criminal behaviour and to repeat as adults the same cycle of unstable parenting.
But instead of welcoming this analysis as identifying a real problem, the Left turned on the authors, branding them as evil Right-wingers for being ‘against single mothers’.
Whew, good thing the American left isn’t actively trying to atomize the family:
Phillips writes that British leftists “reserve a special loathing for me. This is not just because I refuse to be cowed. It’s because I was once one of them, one of the elect, a believer,” which brings to mind something Glenn Reynolds wrote over a decade ago:
As the old saying has it, the left looks for heretics and the right looks for converts, and both find what they’re looking for. The effect is no doubt subliminal, but people who treat you like crap are, over time, less persuasive than people who don’t. If people on the Left are so unhappy about how many former allies are changing their views, perhaps they should examine how those allies are treated.
Or to put it another way Michael Walsh looks at Howard Kurtz’s grovelling on CNN yesterday and asks, “Next Stop: J-School Re-Education Camps?”
Considering that at least one far left newspaper editor has called for NRA members to be sent “directly to Guantanamo Bay for all eternity and let them rot in their own mental squalor,” don’t give the left any ideas, Michael!
(Although talk about burying the lede: at least there’s one editor who wants to see Gitmo remain open…)