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No Father? No Chance

On television, super single mother has nearly perfect hair and makeup and her burden doesn't come close to reality. On top of this, celebrities routinely put their needs to feel loved and gratified above the needs of children to have a father in their lives, and thus set the example that single motherhood is cool.

Our society affirms the statement of Gloria Steinem that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. That message has been sent to fathers in a thousand different ways by academic writers, entertainers, and government programs, which subsidize illegitimacy and discount the role of fatherhood. No amount of "The More You Know" public service announcements can stem that tide without confronting the forces that like a corrosive acid eat away at the institution of fatherhood.

When one begins to talk about this issue, our society's oversensitivity kicks in. To say that you believe fatherlessness is a problem is taken as bashing single mothers (which is something only David Letterman's allowed to do.)

Of course, I'm not bashing single mothers, but I refuse to allow political correctness to claim that one plus zero equals two. No how matter how great mom is, she's not dad. She cannot take his place in their child's heart no matter how hard she tries. And yes, this is also true in the reverse. Dad can't take mom's place either, but that social problem is less prevalent with little statistics available. We do, however, have statistical evidence revealing the negative impact of absentee fathers. Those who argue otherwise are arguing for the worthlessness of fathers from a mathematical standpoint.

Recall, from early algebra, if you were given the equation "M+ F = M" and told to solve for "F," it would be a simple exercise. F = 0 as it adds nothing to the equation. This is exactly what many modern feminists allege about fathers.

Nor should this be interpreted as a call for more abortions. Abortion, if anything, has separated men from a sense of responsibility, as our nation's laws in effect declare a child the sole property of the mother.

On the issue of fathers, the "reality-based" community denies social studies, citing people who grew up well with only one parent or grew up poorly with two parents. These arguments are much like a smoker's justification that Uncle Joe smoked three packs a day and lived to be eighty-five. Exceptions to a general rule don't disprove the rule when a large body of science backs it up.

The science is ignored because it undermines the institutional ideal of self-actualization. The unhappy married couple that stays together "for the children" is mocked. The man who "comes out of the closet" and leaves his wife and children is celebrated for following his heart. Commitment and obligation are cast aside for happiness and immediate personal fulfillment.

There is a price to pay, and, like with government spending, the future generations pay the most dearly. Children have been treated as secondary considerations, as worth less than the personal gratification of their parents.

It may have been their choice to make, but I'm reminded of the words of the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade after Walter Donovan drank from the false grail. "He chose poorly."

Hundreds of billions of the dollars we spend on government expenditures are the direct result of fatherlessness, from health care for poor children, to welfare, to prisons to house the young men whose substitutes for dad led them into a life of crime. America has a higher percentage of its population in prison than any nation on the face of the Earth. Somehow, there's never quite enough space. We continually debate how we will find new space to house all the new prisoners, while ignoring the decline of fatherhood that has created the problem in the first place.

Yet with Harrisburg on the brink of martial law, this news reminds us we can only build so many jails. The message of Harrisburg is clear: a day of reckoning is coming. It seems far more likely America's largest cities will be under siege from their father-hungry children than from al-Qaeda.