Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Melanie Phillips on Fatherlessness

Goodbye to the Enlightenment

The parents are the problem; as are, almost certainly, their parents and their parents too. Not that any of them necessarily even know who their parents, in the plural, are. For the single most crucial factor behind all this mayhem, behind the total breakdown of any control or self-control amongst the rampaging gangs of children and teenagers who are rioting, burning, robbing, stealing, attacking and murdering, is the willed removal of the most important thing that socialises children and turns them from feral savages into civilised citizens: a fully committed, hands-on, there-every-day father.

As I have been writing for more than twenty years, a society that embraces mass fatherlessness is a society that is going off the edge of a cliff. There are whole areas of Britain (white as well as black) where committed fathers are a wholly unknown phenomenon; where serial generations are being brought up only by mothers, through whose houses pass transitory males by whom these girls and women have yet more children, and whose own daughters inevitably repeat the pattern of lone and utterly dysfunctional parenting.

The result is fatherless boys who are suffused by an existential rage and desperate psychic need, who take out the damage done to them by lashing out from infancy at the world around them. And all this is effectively condoned, rewarded and encouraged by the welfare state which conceives of need solely in terms of absence of money, and which accordingly subsidises lone parenthood and the destructive behaviour that welfare fatherlessness brings in its train.

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