Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Is fatherhood a right-wing concept?

I have spent much of my life largely avoiding politics. As a younger man, I got incensed at one or two issues of the time but my voting was always pretty middle-of-the-road, perhaps slightly leftish, when that option was available. In that vein, I always thought equality was a jolly good idea - Oh, I was vaguely worried, from time to time, that it seemed largely a one way street, but the ladies girls women always seemed to have such good points and we men were supposed to have all the advantages so mostly I just kept my mouth shut.

But since my life was torn to shreds, I have been increasingly finding myself reading conservative tracts with wide-eyed agreement, most especially on the issues of fatherhood and its decline. It seems that it is only the right wing that is prepared to defend fatherhood, the lefties seem to have little or nothing to say about it except when it comes to the usual bleatings about domestic violence and how awful it is for women. Yes, it is awful for women, and it's awful for men too, but what's that got to do with a man's right to raise his children and a child's right to know his or her father? I shall certainly never understand how one can attack arguments that "the system" is biased against men in certain ways with the claim that it is biased against women in others. Justice is not constructed from opposing injustices.

But I digress. What brought me to this reverie was the discovery of yet another article in the conservative website with which I whole heartedly and unequivocally agree. In Deleting Dad Kathleen Parker discusses the necessity of men in the the context of the several articles in the New York Times over the past week. She too sees the many and blatant contradictions presented by the inseminating women, although apparently does not see it as quite the creepily funny mix of science fiction dystopia and high farce that I do. I hadn't encountered the mother who married and conceived a child by an encarcerated murderer and then skipped out, but it doesn't surprise me. I had heard of the idea of virtual visitation which, I suppose, is better than nothing, if nothing is the alternative. But, as if it wasn't obvious from the title, Parker's overall thrust is at the death (or is it murder?) of fatherhood. Her last two paragraphs sum things up nicely:

There's something terribly wrong with this picture, and it is this: These are sad stories that reveal symptoms of a diseased culture in which human relationships have no moral content and children are treated as accessories to adult lives. Yet, these trends are portrayed as the latest gosh-gee fashions.

A society in which women are alone, men are lonely, and children don't have fathers is nothing to celebrate. And a future world filled with fatherless children - bereft of half their identity and robbed of a father's love, discipline and authority - won't likely be a pleasant place to live.

I would probably have left out the "discipline and authority" as minor compared to the "love", but she's a conservative, so I guess it's de riguer.

Another thought occurs to me: why are so many of these articles not just written by conservatives, but by women? Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to them, but I'd be happier to see more men defending their right to be fathers...

No comments:

Blog Archive