Nuclear Families Need Larger Loyalties

by Olavo de Carvalho – (translated from the Portuguese by Sam Peyo) via Oct 4, 2012 

Rockefellar family portrait: strong extended patriarchial family for them - gender confused isolation for us. Click to enlarge

The “traditional family” which Christians and conservatives defend so ardently against harassment from feminists, gay militants, pansexualists etc., as well as against the usurpation of legal parenthood by the State, consists of father, mother and a couple of children. The cinema has established this image as the living symbol of the fundamental values of American culture and has transmitted it to all the countries within the cultural orbit of the United States.

But this family model is not in the least traditional. It is a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution. The Industrial Revolution dismantled regional cultures and the family labor units within which agricultural skills and the crafts were transmitted from father to son over generations. 

The traditional families were broken up into small uprooted units that migrated into the city in search of jobs. The French Revolution did the rest by abolishing the traditional bonds of territory, family, personal and group loyalties, replacing them with a new system of legal and bureaucratic bonds according to which the obligation of each individual is first and foremost to the State, and only secondarily (by permission of the State) to relatives and friends. 

The “natural” trial-and-error-based society formed throughout the centuries with no sort of planning was replaced by a planned, rational-bureaucratic society in which human atoms devoid of any deep organic and personal bonds would retain only mechanical relationships founded on State regulations or superficial affinities arising from casual encounters in the work and leisure environment. Such is the basis of the modern nuclear family.

Max Weber described this process as an essential chapter in the “disenchantment of the world”, where the loss of a higher meaning in existence is poorly compensated for by ideological surrogates, by public entertainment and by a “religion” increasingly robbed of its essential function of shaping culture as a whole. 

Under such circumstances, as pointed out by Weber, it is only natural that the search for a deeper meaning of existence becomes restricted to increasingly private and intimate settings, among which is evidently the nuclear family. But as a juridical entity which is subject to ever-growing regulation and State intrusion, the nuclear family has ceased to be the ideal shelter for intimacy and so, in this respect, is being gradually replaced with extramarital relations.

Without patriarchal protection, unmoored and adrift, and depending entirely on overwhelming State bureaucracy, the modern nuclear family is structurally a very fragile entity and is unable to resist the impact of accelerated social change and the “generation crisis” which invariably accompanies each major change. 

Far from being the bulwark of traditional values, it is a step in a comprehensive historical-social process leading towards the total eradication of family authority and its replacement by the impersonal power of the bureaucratic State. 


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