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Fatherlessness, the lack of natural fathers in children's lives
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The Federal Bureau of Marriage?

Liberty Magazine, July 2003
The Federal Bureau of Marriage?
by Stephen Baskerville

The Fraud of Healthy Marriages

If we truly wish to restore marriage, we must change not males but laws. Yet we are refusing to face this politically unpleasant truth and filling the public payroll with therapists and police.

In encouraging marriage, the administration is promoting a fraud. It is luring young people into a contract which the government can tear up at any time. Men in particular who accept the government's invitation to marry can lose their children, their homes, their savings and future earnings, their freedom, and even their lives. Not only will the government extend them no protection for their commitment, it will criminalize them without even the due-process safeguards afforded to criminals.

Some evidence suggests men are becoming wise. The National Marriage Project at Rutgers University reports that men are increasingly unwilling to marry. Project director David Popenoe spins a therapeutically correct explanation, blaming a puerile fear of commitment. Glenn Sacks and Dianna Thompson in the Philadelphia Inquirer read the data instead as indicating an impromptu marriage strike: a refusal to start families by men who are aware it can mean a one-way ticket to jail.

What we are glimpsing here is part of a larger process by which the state has used family destruction to expand its reach. When fathers are eliminated, state officials assume their role as protector and provider. By removing fathers, the government creates a host of problems for itself to solve. If fatherlessness is behind most of today's social ills, the realization that the engine generating fatherless children is not the fathers, but the state, takes on implications few have dared to confront.

Much of the expansion in the size and scope of government over many decades has been justified by the problems now recognized as proceeding from fatherless homes. Both the welfare state of the Left and the expansion of incarceration pushed by the Right are furthered by the government's displacement of fathers. With hardly a word of opposition from left or right, the welfare-divorce machinery has become a self-perpetuating mechanism by which government engineers the expansion of its own power. The increase in this machinery is the silent revolution of the last century.

This article originally appeared in the July 2003 issue of Liberty, PO Box 1181, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Annual subscription US$29.50. Copyright 2003, Liberty, all rights reserved.

Other Parts:

Index to more of Stephen Baskerville's articles

Stephen Baskerville's website

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Posted 2003 07 08