On the Other Hand...

Family Values

by Jim Davies

When any politician lowers his voice for emphasis and speaks to the subject of The Family, just as if he stood for its preservation and advance, then is the time for us to clutch our pocketbooks even tighter than usual and to watch out for a tidal wave of green, hypocritical ooze.

The family, you see, is and always will be the implacable enemy of government - and that slimy politician knows it full well. The more power families have, the less power politicians have, and vice versa; so the idea that government people can ever be "on the side of" families is always a lie.

Families promote loyalty between members that transcends even friendship; a sense of belonging to a group that is always there for you, no matter what; a sense of "roots", and a source of stability and continuity. Virtues not to be legislated, mind, as the Conservatives would; but virtues anyway.

And supremely, of course, there are the affection and love that go with marriage and the bearing and raising of children. While it's always possible for an individual to part company with his family, on the whole it's a great institution that has withstood the pressures of its enemies throughout history.

Enemies

And its enemies are found listed in the voting booth.

Let's explain by taking the example of the traditional family: Mom, Dad, 2.6 kids. Government should do nothing at all to set that up as a "model", and I am not implying for a moment that other lifestyles are inferior: merely, that it has plenty going for it and that government should not impede it either.

Its strength, as for all groups and individuals, lies in its freedom to make its own decisions. Let's look at some Key Family Decision areas.

Consider Mom & Dad. For the sake of stability of the whole family, it's a good idea for them to be married, if they wish. Nobody should force that decision, mind; but nobody should obstruct it either, and government does obstruct it.

It does so first by its notorious "marriage tax". A working couple pays more income tax if it's married than if it's not. A direct financial incentive not to marry - to prevent the formation of a family unit.

It does so secondly by requiring that the couple gets government permission or license to marry; often involving various medical tests. Now, it's no bad idea for the bride to make sure that the groom isn't already married, before taking the plunge: but the notion that she must be compelled to do so is repugnant. The only requirement for a couple to marry is that they both wish to.

It does so thirdly by its so-called "welfare" programs, which drastically impede the formation of stable families among the least skilled and well-off members of society.

The steps are, first, to prevent unskilled teenagers learning how to earn a living, by prohibiting employment at less than $4.25 an hour. That keeps them poor and idle, so providing unnaturally large opportunities for conceiving children; and 18 years later, the cycle repeats, in even deeper poverty.

The unwed Mom, meanwhile, is given tax-funded handouts for as long as she does NOT live with a man, and no longer: another large, direct, financial incentive to prevent the formation of a stable family.

Notice: all this disastrous family-destruction has been done by government. Blacks are the group most heavily affected; yet before the advent of large scale governemnt "welfare", while Blacks were almost as poor as today, they were the very repository of stable family values and virtues in America!

Is it deliberate? - if government people are intelligent, then certainly it is deliberate. And if it's deliberate, it's very, very evil.

So much for the Marriage Decision; next comes the Education Decision, for the 2.6 kids. This, too, is obstructed and (except for the rich) even removed from the family, by government. You prefer to home-school your kids, or send them to a non-government school? - Go ahead, they say, but first, you WILL pay for the government's school whether you use its facilities or not. Pure Fascism!

Then there's the Work Decision: should Mom go to work, to help support the family? - of course, if she wishes! And to that extent at least, I'm a feminist. But isn't it ironic, that that admirable movement has been subverted so as to turn women into government slaves; for during the past half century, the increased wealth generated by women working almost exactly matches the increased wealth stolen by government as taxes.

I've room for one more: the Inheritance Decision. One excellent way for families to prosper and grow is to amass wealth (by voluntary exchange, of course!) and pass some of it down from one generation to the next.

Tens of millions of families, doing this over time, would keep that wealth OUT of the destructive hands of government and so preserve a healthy, widespread distribution of power within society. Anathema, to all governments always.

Government people know that very well, and so deliberately impose - on top of all the crippling taxes that impede the formation of a Family Fortune in the first place - an "inheritance tax" expressly designed to wipe it out when the older generation passes it on to the next.

Government and Family: enemies for ever. Eventually, one of them must go.

© Copyright Jim Davies 1999

Jim Davies lives in New Hampshire,
and enjoys contemplating which way is up.

The above is Edition # 17

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