Salvo 07.12.2022 5 minutes

Preserve Our “Little Platoons”

family of seven walks on the beach with their dog

The family unit is the essence of American society.

While the family unit continues to give America its societal backbone, it faces increasing criticism and scrutiny. Calls for the abolition of the family unit resound from the woke Left. The BLM website championed the dismantling of the “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” calling it patriarchal and oppressive. In place of the family unit, the “trained Marxists” in charge of BLM plan to institute mythical collectivized “extended families” that will assume responsibility for child-rearing.

The family structure as we know it is one of the few safeguards against socialism and the degeneration of society. That’s why the Left hates it so much. Prominent feminist authors published by esteemed presses offer polemics on doing away with the family in the name of ”care and liberation.” At a time when America leads the world in single-parent households, the traditional family is in desperate need of defense.

A top-down, centralized universal preschool program and childcare services were proposed recently for three and four-year-olds to advance democracy. However, studies show that sending children to industrialized daycare can increase behavioral and psychological problems, even in two-parent families. While advocates across the political spectrum see daycare as a boon for low-income families, children will never receive the same love and attention from daycare providers as from their own families. There may be instances where government should intervene in raising children, as in the case of domestic abuse or child neglect, but the idea that the state should be a co-parent should not be normalized.  

Parents have a pivotal role to play in changing this dismal tide, because the difference between woke tyranny and a free society lies in how the youth are educated and raised. Burke called the family “the little platoon we belong to in society“ and “the germ of public affections.” The family teaches its children to be virtuous, inculcates a moral sense, teaches how to discern right from wrong, and is built on mutual love and concern. Without this platoon fulfilling its duty, children can fall prey to the metastasizing pathologies of DEI, anti-racism, victimhood, and transgenderism, estranged from the truth. 

When the family is turned into a machine to produce children to serve the state as in Soviet Russia, or to be the vanguard of Mao’s cultural revolution, it is no longer capable of fulfilling its role of the little platoon. Children become conditioned to be servile drones of the regime. The push for critical race theory in America’s public schools today serves a similar ideological function, molding children into social justice warriors and champions of equity.

Families must be vigilant about what their children are learning in school—and that includes private education, which is also susceptible to the same woke indoctrination practices we expect to find in government schools. They cannot blindly trust bureaucrats and teachers’ unions to teach what is in their child’s best interest.

Furthermore, if a child grows up rootless, lacking a connection to his or her family or community for social and financial support, they are more likely to turn to socialism and services from the state to order their life. The state cannot replace the role of the parents as moral teacher, which is why the family and civil society must be there to point children in the right direction.

Intact families are a catalyst for poverty eradication. Studies show that children in one parent families are more likely to drop out of high school, have children young, and work less compared to two parent families. It is harder for one parent to provide the proper attention and nurturing that a child needs to flourish. And if children grow up in financially responsible families, they are less likely to be deceived by the leftist lure of “free” college education, housing, healthcare, UBI, and the other goodies of modern serfdom that the regime dangles before the disaffected.

Anyone against socialism and the triumph of woke ideology must defend the nuclear family structure, as neither can exist without the negation of the family. Friedrich Engels wrote that socialism would do away with the family, its reliance on private property, and the children’s dependence on the parents. The little platoon of the family must stand and fight for the truth amid the onslaught of propaganda from those who want to dismantle capitalism, objective truth, and western civilization.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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