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.