The Nuclear Family Is Indispensable

Jun 5, 2020 by

by Scott L Buchanan, Public Discourse:

Advocates for family fluidity routinely level two claims against the nuclear family: first, that it is a mere “blip” on the historical map, and second, that it is largely unconnected to the well-being of individuals (especially children). In both instances the goal is to diminish its significance as a valuable form of kinship structure. For all their popularity, however, neither assumption withstands scrutiny.

That the nuclear or “traditional” family has rapidly unraveled in most of the Western world is hardly news. The ongoing demise of this particular type of kinship—composed of faithfully married men and women, along with the children they produce—is now so common that the persistence of intact family life often elicits surprise. Moreover, some see its splintering into a variety of blended and artificial combinations as more than an unremarkable feature of modern life—they see it as a virtuous expression of individual autonomy.

Elite opinion has long harbored the belief that the nuclear family is in no way superior to other family types, and that its decline was, at worst, a mildly disruptive presence in the lives of those who have experienced it. Modern society is now awash with these assumptions, which have catechized a great swath of people into believing that families can be arranged and re-arranged in Tetris-like fashion. So ubiquitous are the conclusions of modern progressives that even putatively conservative voices have bought into the skeptical assessment of the two-parent biological family as a key source of today’s frayed and atomistic society.

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