In “Burke on Our Crisis of Character,” which appeared in the December 2023 issue of Chronicles, Bruce Frohnen notes, “The American Way was real, rooted in families whose rights trumped the demands of the state because families were more natural and fundamental than the state.” The following month in the same magazine, Stephen Baskerville reviews a collection of essays, Up from Conservatism, in which he briefly addresses the pernicious effects of government welfare on family life and fatherhood.
As is the case in nearly everything that the federal government touches, be it education, health care, or anything else, its policies in the last 50 years have severely damaged the American family. Given the additional harms done by government in the first quarter of the 21st century—trillions of dollars in wasted expenses, woefully ignorant public school graduates, divisions along the lines of race, politics, and gender, a diminished pride in our past, the attacks on our liberties—some people I know despair about the future. Others of us want to restore the good that has been lost but feel frustrated and even defeated by the immensity of the task. We vote, we grouse (as I am doing here), yet each day brings some new assault on the culture, some new governmental dictate or intrusion, and we just want to hunker down in the trenches hoping that this bombardment will end of its own accord.Read More