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How Personal Relationships Threaten the Power of the State

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Have you noticed a recent push to keep single people single? It’s out there. Click here for my latest essay at The Federalist: “How Personal Relationships Threaten the Power of the State.” It examines advice given across the board to all single working class mothers: “Don’t get married.” Specifically, a recent article at Slate, co-authored by two feminist legal scholars, states that single mothers should “Just say no” to marriage.

So what’s with that? Of course marriage is a choice and it’s impossible to discern whether or not the choice is a good one without knowing all of the details and circumstances in any given case. But the Slate piece comes down almost as a manifesto claiming that these moms ( never mind their children) are better off going it alone.

But if we step back, we can see a bigger picture emerging. It’s as though individuals in our society are being nudged today towards isolation, away from human companionship that is autonomous and real — and pushed into a sterile form of “community” in which the state calls all of the shots in our lives. Perhaps that’s why it seems those pushing big government agendas seem unfriendly — and even hostile — towards strong personal relationships.

Here’s an excerpt from the Federalist piece:

Strong relationships are about teamwork: real communication, real cooperation, real trust, and real fellowship. How might individuals seek to cultivate these things? They can, you know, if government gets out of the way. And teamwork is about self-sacrifice, which is a dirty word these days. Yes, strong relationships may be difficult to produce. But that’s what makes them strong. The blacksmith analogy is apt: the tempering of the iron in the fire – as with a relationship through trials — will give it shape and strength.

But the really dirty little secret statists would rather you not know is this: strong relationships of mutual self-sacrifice yield the greatest prosperity of every kind – spiritual, emotional, and material – for everyone.

The hunger for strong family relationships will persist. Social engineers can only offer weak “communitarian” relationships as cheap imitations for the real thing, which, in the end, is real, human love.

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