Okay, let me say it before you do: No family is perfect, and even children raised in wonderful families can turn out to be like wolves.
Still, it makes sense that children nurtured with rules are far more likely to follow them than those given free rein to follow their most primal instincts of "self fi rst, others second." In the national ongoing conversation about how to change "government" and make "society" better, I rarely hear a reference to the obvious starting place: the creation and nurturing of functioning families, in which a mother and a father bring up their off spring with the understanding that the older generation is training the younger to be their replacements.
This essential belief is not (at least it shouldn't be) a partisan issue, butsometimes it can seem like one. For example, President Obama, speaking to the West Point graduating class on May 22, 2010, said, "American innovation must be the foundation of American power." Yes, innovation is important (as I will discuss in later chapters of this book), but, to repeat, I believe that the foundation of American power has always been and must continue to be...(drum roll, please!)...the American family.
On this issue, as on so many others, I cast my lot with Ronald Reagan, who said, "The family has always been the cornerstone of American society. Our families nurture, preserve, and pass on to each succeeding generation the values we share and cherish, values that are the foundation of our freedom."
It should surprise no one - certainly it would not have surprised President Reagan - that those who now want to "transform" traditional America recognize this truth from the opposite direction and have placed the American family smack in the crosshairs. You know this. You see it every day. Th e family structure that made this country the most powerful and prosperous in the history of the world - father, mother, children - is under assault today as never before.
As parents and even grandparents, what can we do? Simple. We fight back. What happens in our day to the traditional family will determine whether we remain a morally healthy nation of self-reliant families, for the most part, or degenerate into a decadent welfare state of shattered, chaotic, and dependent families.
If you think I'm exaggerating, a little history lesson might be in order. (Many of us somehow managed to get a high school diploma even with a meager knowledge of history, but I digress...) In 1917, when the communists seized power in Russia, they immediately and frankly set out to destroy what they saw as the two biggest threats to their authority: religion and the family. According to an article in the July 1926 issue of Atlantic Monthly, the Bolsheviks hated the institution of the family with a fierce passion. They forbade all religious ceremonies, which had the effect of turning marriage into just a piece of paper issued by a clerk. In turn, marriage could be undone in a matter of minutes by a piece of paper from another clerk. The ultimate aim of this new socialist state, so far as family was concerned, was to promulgate free love. Along the same lines, abortions were officially sanctioned and paid for by the government.