Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nanny State or Pater Familias?

When I read news stories such as this one on the think tank CentreForum’s “five a day” checklist for improving parenting, I sometimes want to revert back to my former libertarianism. The welfare state sometimes has a certain busybody element to it that becomes more prominent when benefits become increasingly means tested or when they are attached to certain patronizing requirements like attending parenting classes or only purchasing certain types of food with government food subsidies.

A better course of action would be for the State to enact policies that improve the environment for raising families and leaving the rest for actual families to sort out organically. For example, supporting full employment and high wages, especially for male workers, can help strengthen families by providing the necessary economic base for paternal authority within families while at the same time obviating the need for mothers to find employment outside of the home or to put children in daycare centers. Additionally, making divorce more difficult would strike at the heart of the culture of caprice that is reflected in many of the social problems present in today’s society.

4 comments:

  1. "For example, supporting full employment and high wages, especially for male workers, can help strengthen families by providing the necessary economic base for paternal authority within families while at the same time obviating the need for mothers to find employment outside of the home or to put children in daycare centers. "

    The failure to provide full employment is the worst and most despicable anti-family policy of the neoliberal state, as it has existed over the past 30 years.

    It is no surprise that the baby boomers were born at a time when their parents had employment security, rising real wages and the real expectation of better times ahead.

    Contrast that with today, where so many people couldn't have a family even if they wanted one because of severe economic insecurity.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Lord Keynes,

    Thank you for the comment!

    I agree with you. It is unfortunate that so many social conservatives cannot see how neoliberalism works against the interests of the family, not for it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Why shouldn't women be allowed to work outside the home should they so choose? I say provide full employment for both genders.

    ReplyDelete
  4. JM,

    I am not against women working outside of the home per se, I am against the current situation where poorer women often have no choice in the matter. They must work, often because their husbands are so poorly paid.

    Why not give all women a meaningful choice as to staying home or working? Currently, that choice is becoming a luxury only wealthy couples can afford.

    ReplyDelete