Are Fathers Necessary After All?

One of the unpleasant things my parents’ generation kept saying, as tedious as Cato’s Carthago delenda est, was “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Now that our culture has gone to the equal and opposite extreme of refusing to socialise their children at all, or allow them to be socialised, can we perhaps learn something from the wicked old proverb?

My own observation of single mothers has been that the great majority cannot discipline their children, in part because any single adult without backup can be ground down, but also because their concept of mother-love, having no masculine counterbalance, goes completely to seed and turns into a self-centred echo-chamber whereby the mother approves of herself and her “love” proportional to her indulgence of the child’s whims and misbehaviour. The more unsocialised the child, the greater her love must necessarily be for her to admire herself. Well, then, the child is loved, for a certain value of love, but the results may seem to give the lie to those who claim that being loved is all it needs and will magically result in a civilised adult.

If we posit that a child needs to be taught a objective ethic as well, we shall soon find ourselves in conflict with her conviction that the child should be praised simply for existing, because that allows her to congratulate herself on having the sacred emotion of mother-love. Our politically-incorrect forefathers would have said that teaching an objective ethic was the job of fathers, who were thus the true glue of society, integrating into a viable community structure the mothers who could not see beyond their own interior lives.

Leave a Reply