A recent interview with philosopher and professor Adam Swift touted the conclusion that traditional families where children are raised by a married mother and father create an unfair advantage for those children over their contemporaries from unmarried parents. I agree. As we’ve shown in our report on Fatherlessness in Massachusetts, having a married mother and father in the home is correlated with giving children more financial security, better access to health care, increased academic achievement and reduced risk of exposure to crime and domestic violence. And it’s not fair. Children do not get to choose who their parents are or what type of relationship they are in, and yet it has a profound impact on their chances at success in life.
So, what is the proposed solution by the researchers to this inequality of opportunity? Encourage committed marriages between men and women when children are involved, so as to maximize the number who can benefit from these advantages? No. It is to abolish the family. Apparently, these
philosophers think creating some form of lowest common denominator of institutional child rearing would be superior than the unfair disparity generated by some children still being raised in an intact traditional family. It does not appear to occur to these authors that what is truly unfair isn’t the children who ‘get ahead’ from having married parents, but rather the suffering of their contemporaries who bear the inevitable cost of their parents’ relational dysfunction.
A counselor friend of mine recently suggested that we should reform divorce law so that children keep the house, and parents have to take turns moving in and out of the home, rather than forcing the kids into the disruption of shuttling back and forth between mother and father. As a society, my friend said, we seem to put children through things we would never do to ourselves. He certainly has a point. If we’re truly concerned about what is ‘fair’ to children, then we should be strengthening traditional marriage as the solution to, not the cause of, inequality amongst our youth.
Most ominously, next month the US Supreme Court could redefine marriage for the entire nation, establishing in law that marriage is exclusively about adult sexual preferences (i.e. we must be free to ‘love’ whomever we choose) and not, as it has been for millennia, the best means of conceiving, bearing and raising children with every advantage and security we as a society can bestow upon them. It will be truly unfair to put the desires of adults before the needs of children, but we can see how the dominant mentality reflected in things like the push for “same-sex marriage” would lead the researchers to the outlandish conclusion that marriage should be abolished altogether because it yields inequalities. Such insanity could only arise in a culture where the true solution, sacrificial commitment to family and denial of self-fulfillment by adults, were routinely dismissed as antiquated, even hateful, ideas.
So, no matter what the Supreme Court decides next month or what nonsensical social experiments follow, let us never forget that what is best for children, and society as a whole, is married mothers and fathers.