“The business of the home is nothing less than the shaping of the bodies and souls of humanity. The family is the factory that manufactures mankind.” — G.K Chesterton
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” — Bible
How are marriage and the family coping in today’s world?
Ted Malloch, in an article in the Intellectual Takeout titled “The Tragedy of the European Family,” reviews considerable data and comes to the conclusion that marriage and the family in Europe are in their death throes. He warns that the U.S. is headed in the same direction.
Consider these facts: Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected French president, has no children; German chancellor Angela Merkel has no children. British prime minister, Theresa May has no children; Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has no children; Holland’s prime minister, Mark Rutte, Sweden’s Stefan Löfven, Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, and Scotland’s, first minister Nicola Sturgeon – all have no children. And they are only a few of many in a similar situation.
Malloch then goes on to make the following statement: “a grossly disproportionate number of the people making serious decisions about Europe’s future have no direct personal sibling, child or grandchildren’s interests at stake in that future. They are not part of a family and have come to see all their attention focused on one dominant and all-powerful social unit to which they pay obeisance and give their complete and devoted attention: The State.”
As a result of this overall mindset among native Europeans, the birth rate is currently between 0.2 and 1.1. Europe is not reproducing itself and, if trends are extrapolated – will cease to exist.
Malloch is talking about the family in Europe, but he points out that the U.S. isn’t far behind. In 2017, the number of births each woman is expected to have in her childbearing years dropped to 1.76. The “replacement” fertility rate of 2.1 – enough to renew the population – is typically viewed as the optimal level for stability.
There are many reasons put forth by the experts to explain the decline in birthrates. Of course one reason is abortion. Approximately one-third of babies in the U.S. are aborted. In addition the use of contraceptives has significantly reduced the number of pregnancies. It has also been suggested that the increased number of women in the workplace has decreased the number of pregnancies. Women, not wanting to interrupt their careers, are waiting longer to have children and are having fewer.
Many couples are choosing not to have children at all. Perhaps that’s a consequence of the Me Generation mentality. In trying to determine when the Me Generation began I found that generational researchers don’t agree. Some say it applies to the Baby Boomers to contrast them with the self-sacrificing Greatest Generation that came before them. Others say it is simply another name for Generation Y, which includes everyone born between the early 1980s and the turn of the century. However, some sociologists extend Generation Me back into the ’70s to include a portion of Generation X, because many of the cultural factors that created Generation Me were taking effect at that time.
In Malloch’s opinion, however, there is a more significant reason for the decline of the family. He suggests “the family has lost its social significance because to the State, the family is a threat. As a precursor and basic unit of life it preceded the state and always balanced its interests. But in the last 50 years, the welfare state has done everything in its power to break it up. Dividing families, encouraging divorce, supporting abortion, coercing fatherlessness, and building dependencies, the state has not idly watched in the demise of the family structure: it has been the active and primary cause of its very plight.” Does this sound familiar?
What’s the answer? Malloch believes the family in the U.S. isn’t beyond recovery. The missing component is a return to God’s plan. Jesus clearly emphasized the primacy of the individual and the family over the government.