In Brief: Critical Father Theory
“America’s crime problem is a father problem.”
Mary Eberstadt is one the our nation’s foremost cultural critics and public intellectuals, but a brief glance at her body of work shows that she’s also one of us. Books such as How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization; It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies; and Adam and Eve after the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution make it clear that she’s unafraid to stake out controversial turf and tell hard truths.
“America’s crime problem is a father problem,” she writes in a recent essay. “This is one of our country’s deepest and most denied family secrets. Everybody knows it, and everybody has known it for a very long time.” She then addresses the elephant in the room:
Some will call these unwanted facts racist. They’re wrong. White America has been playing impressive catch-up ball. Today, the percentage of white children who are also being raised without two married parents is higher than the one that the Moynihan Report worried over for blacks — 28 vs 25 percent, respectively. And just as the Report forecast, correctly, that this new model would collectively produce social chaos, so it is exacting its own penalty among non-blacks.
If you’re not familiar with the 1965 Moynihan Report, its full name is The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, and its author, then-Assistant Labor Secret Daniel Patrick Moynihan (and future iconoclastic New York Democrat senator) told one hard truth after another about the breakdown of the black nuclear family, from unwed childrearing to divorce to single-mother households to poverty. His findings were denounced then, and they’re denounced today, by a Left unwilling to come to grips with difficult realities.
But, as Eberstadt points out, fatherlessness is an equal-opportunity plague, and the normalization of the fatherless home is the key contributor to it. She writes:
It’s now over a quarter-century since rapper Tupac Shakur penned a searing apotheosis, ‘Papa'z Song’ (1993), nailing the image for his generation: ‘Had to play catch by myself. What a sorry sight.’ For decades, Eminem has similarly wrung the hearts of many millions of kids fuming over their own missing daddies. All of which raises the question: if everybody from auto mechanics and sociologists to producers and pop stars knows this, why doesn’t someone do something?“
One answer may be that there isn’t a nickel in it. Neither Raytheon nor any other woke corporation will spend millions to tutor its employees in the economic and social benefits of the two-parent home — though they will devote that largesse, and more, to entrepreneurs of critical race theory. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey will not shower eight-figure donations on centers of therapy or other ameliorations for the children of family chaos — though he righteously does just that for the neo-racialist academic empire over which Ibram X. Kendi presides.
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