Progressive societies tend to quickly impose restrictions on behaviors that are considered dangerous to ‘society’. Occasionally, this goal of providing security for society is achieved at the cost of people’s freedoms but progressive voters don’t doubt that the exchange is a worthwhile one.
For instance, some people, many of them thoughtful and educated parents, choose not to vaccinate their children for various reasons. Progressive politicians like New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, have little hesitation in imposing mandatory vaccination orders with fines of $1,000 for violators. This sounds logical and seems to be prudent public policy. In the name of public health government trounces parents’ freedoms.
Years ago the freedoms of a private citizen to open a restaurant that allowed smoking were abrogated. By that time, the rights of people to smoke in most public areas had long since been trampled. How was this achieved? By government addressing what it saw as its duty to provide health for all. But wait, then surely government should have banned not only smoking but also mountain climbing and bungee jumping along with all other life-threatening activities? “No,” answered big-government progressives. “While climbing and other high risk activities imperil only the participant himself,” they insisted, “smoking jeopardizes everyone because smoke exhaled by the smoker pollutes all the air for all living things.” Again, the greater good was achieved with a corresponding loss of freedom judged by many to be a worthy exchange.
To be clear, then, we are comfortable restricting the freedom of parents to make their own health decisions for their children and we are okay with restricting the freedom of restauranteurs and of people who choose to smoke tobacco. Yet, at the same time we utterly reject the notion of restricting the freedom of people who engage in a certain activity which imposes great public health penalties along with other costs on us all and which significantly increases the likelihood of us becoming the victims of criminal violence.
What is this damaging activity? It is conceiving and giving birth to children without the partners being married. Why is this as or more damaging than second hand smoke or unvaccinated children? As the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and other studies show growing up without a father in the home dramatically increases the likelihood of teens engaging in criminal behavior. The National Center for Education Statistics points out that 71% of school dropouts are fatherless. Children in fatherless homes are four times as likely to be dependent on welfare.
In America, about one-third of all children born this year will live in homes without their father present. This adds immeasurably to the likelihood of you becoming a victim of a violent crime perpetrated by a man who grew up without a father. It guarantees you having to help underwrite the more than a hundred billion dollars a year that this growing trend costs.
Up until the 1960s in no group in the United States was a teenage unmarried mother a common sight. Since then, government and culture have methodically removed all the impediments to having children out of marriage. Well-intentioned government programs have eviscerated those social attitudes and economic realities that used to be such an effective barrier to this destructive conduct. The cost to the health and safety of individuals and the public have been enormous.
Whenever a group of people suffers from the pathologies of crime, poverty, and homelessness, the main culprit is nearly always fatherless families. After two hundred and ten years, Egyptian slavery had undermined the role of the Israelite father. Before any tiny spark of freedom could be ignited that would lead to a healthy nation, father-led families needed to be restored as a normative pattern.
Speak to the whole community of Israel and say that on the tenth of this month each of them shall take one lamb to each father-led home…They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts… of the house in which they are to eat it. They shall eat the meat that same night…roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs.
Aware that in years to come, the word ‘family’ will come to lose much of its meaning, the Hebrew text prophetically avoids the word mishpachah—family. Here it uniquely stresses the father-led home.
The inescapable point is that before a damaged group of people can attain real freedom, they must first restore the foundational pillar of a healthy, functioning society, namely the father-led home.
Why does a government that compels its citizens by force to vaccinate their children against measles not at least check the health of illegal immigrants arriving from countries with comparatively high prevalence rates of tuberculosis?
One might also ask why a government that shuts smokers into small designated areas never quarantined AIDS carriers even while that deadly disease was considered to be highly contagious?
The answer surely is that to a government whose driving values are secular liberalism rather than the American constitution, some things are just more important than public health. Not impinging on the ‘rights’ of all to enter the United States is more important than public health. Not casting any aspersions on the demographic group whose sexual choices were then believed to be behind the spread of AIDS was more important than public health. And since the 1960s, not even criticizing anyone’s sexual behavior even when that behavior will bring a child into a fatherless home is more important than defeating poverty and crime.