Dan Popp
The fatherless child and the granny state
By Dan Popp
April 30, 2009

This column is dedicated to my father, who is not thanked enough.

In Loco Parentis

From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future — that community asks for and gets chaos.
— Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat

Could Barack Obama's compulsion to make government into an all-consuming surrogate Super-Parent have something to do with his abandonment by his father?

I'm not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV. But I can't help wondering. Does he understand that he's pursuing a course that will create more, not fewer, fatherless children?

What we know for certain is that liberals benefit politically when families are destroyed. They have an incentive to wreak even more havoc on the foundation of our society; and that incentive is power.

Women Drivers

We've heard that women tend to vote to the left of men. But that's only partly true: married women are almost as conservative as their husbands. It is the "single women" (a demographic clump of never-married, divorced and widowed females) who go for big government in a big way.

It's reported that a full 70% of single women who voted in the 2008 election punched the chad for Obama. They were the bull's-eye of liberal "get out the vote" efforts. Married women, who split about evenly for the two major candidates, had to find their own way to the polls. So much for sisterhood.

In an interview with Front Page Magazine, economist John Lott examined data from his book, Freedomnomics. They show a pattern that has been consistent all over the world: as women secured the right to vote, governments turned left. But the femmes fatale were just getting started:

    After you get to the 1960s, the continued growth in government is driven by higher divorce rates. Divorce causes women with children to turn much more to government programs. Of course, changes in the divorce laws from "at fault" to "no fault" helped cause some of this change.

Not only this, but government programs that reward fatherless families have yielded (surprise!) more children without dads. "Welfare frequently leads to the breakup of families," adds Lott.

As we always get more of what we subsidize and less of what we tax, the inescapable conclusion is that my fellow taxpayers and I are being forced to "invest" in the business of producing homes without fathers. All in the name of government "compassion."

Leftist policies disintegrate families; which makes people vulnerable and anxious. They turn to the Government for help; which justifies new charitable initiatives; which shatters homes. When liberals want to make more liberals, they just break more families.

Make Room For Big Daddy

In a 2008 Father's Day speech, candidate Barack Obama bewailed the ruins of the father-starved black community. Not once in his teleprompter text did he mention that government intervention could be a primary cause of the problem. Instead, the fatherless-child-who-would-be-President said that even good fathers need government help:

    And by the way — it's a responsibility that also extends to Washington. Because if fathers are doing their part; if they're taking our [sic] responsibilities seriously to be there for their children, and set high expectations for them, and instill in them a sense of excellence and empathy, then our government should meet them halfway.

By this, of course, he meant even more government programs.

It reminds me of Thoreau's line, "If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life."

One of the halfway measures the First Daddy mentioned in his speech was "paternity leave." Paternity leave means that a business pays two people (the new dad and his temporary replacement) to do the job of one. As politicians refuse to realize, this money must come from somewhere. When fathers and mothers and others become jobless because of all the government meddling, don't worry: the nanny state will be there to subsidize your unemployment.

Socialized medicine, "free" government day care, longer school years, pre-Kindergarten government education — all these and more are lurking menaces to children and families, disguised as "help."

I'll try to break this to you gently: the government doesn't love you. The government can't love you — therefore "public charity" is an oxymoron. When government overflows its rightful justice function and strays into the mercy area properly served by churches and other private solutions, people get hurt.

Dentured Servants

One astute commentator has labeled our culture the "daddy state," because no nanny shields you and feeds you like this one! But I don't think that label quite fits, either. This guardian doesn't discipline like a father — and it certainly doesn't prepare you to be a productive citizen like good dads do. "Uncle Sam?" No, an uncle might expect you to make something of yourself. It seems to me that Obama's vision of government most resembles a doting grandparent. Since his grandmother raised him, perhaps this is no mere coincidence.

Maybe we could call it the "Granny State."

Good old Nana was always there with warm cookies and a hug. She spent lavishly on you and — most importantly — never scolded you. You were the apple of her eye, just as you are the darling of the Granny State. It lives and grows for the all-consuming purpose of giving you everything your spoiled little heart desires.

If you have the sniffles, Granny will make you all better. Free education? Why, surely — that goes without saying! Can't afford the house you want? Oh, she'll make that dream come true for you — it's only right. Your company in trouble? Ol' Gran will bail you out. You want to retire in comfort at someone else's expense? Why, Sweetums, your Grandma makes that happen every day.

Can I get you anything else, my dear?

In the bosom of the Granny State, there are no consequences for poor performance, irresponsible behavior, or even just plain old bad luck. She's going to make all boo-boos go away. Even if it makes you unfit to be a responsible, productive human being. Make no mistake — this isn't your real grandmother; it's one of the "pod people" look-alikes from a sci-fi movie. Its intentions aren't good.

Baby Nation

Herbert Spenser said, "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."

Has that been the aim of the socialists all along — a nation of mental, moral, emotional and spiritual infants? Not citizens, but dependents. Helpless, whining, narcissistic two-year-olds that vote, not on principle, but for whichever candidate promises them the most "support"?

Liberals can keep talking about their "fairness" and "compassion," but I'm not buying it anymore. The numbers don't lie. In the real world, incentives drive behavior.

Redistributionists win when families lose.

We fear the government may be powerful enough to destroy our families; we know that it is not powerful enough to replace them. — Ronald Reagan

Click here to discuss this article.

As a postscript, the links imbedded in the text of this column are more interesting than the column itself. I hope you'll take time to research them.

© Dan Popp


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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