By preserving culture and supporting children, the nuclear family consequently becomes the highest and most effective form of empowerment.
By now, people are realizing that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is less an organization committed to improving the black community, and more a Marxist group exploiting racial tensions to push its agenda. According to a recent poll, “70 percent of respondents think that the movement has not improved race relations, with 38 percent saying Black Lives Matter has made race relations worse.” After so much agitation and protest, BLM has little to show for itself besides fomenting chaos in urban America and coaxing millions of dollars from white elites hoping to expiate feelings of guilt.
Besides the lackluster outcome of its campaign, what has bothered people most about BLM is its core beliefs, which often stray from the concerns of many black Americans. In particular, BLM opposes the nuclear family: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”
The logic of this statement suggests that children do better without parents and outside the home. Rather, the “village” will raise them. More than any other belief of BLM, this one against the nuclear family threatens the most harm to Americans of all races. Dismantling it leaves children extremely vulnerable to social ills.
As former NFL athlete Marcellus Wiley brilliantly explains, children in broken homes “are 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 6 times more likely to be in poverty, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 20 times more likely to end up in prison, 32 times more likely to run away from home.” Far from taking responsibility for the children, BLM’s proverbial village usually swallows them whole.
So why does BLM include this claim in its creed? When all evidence suggests that eliminating the nuclear family immeasurably harms minorities, how does an organization advocating on their behalf justify this stance? Answering these questions is worthwhile not only because it highlights the essential virtues of the nuclear family, but it also offers a way to address the great decline in family life already happening.
Families Transmit Culture and Cultivate Empathy
First and foremost, the nuclear family is a civilization’s primary means of cultural transmission. Parents pass on their values, faith, and traditions to their children, who then do the same for the next generation. A person’s politics, religious beliefs, and life goals are largely determined by his parents, who set the expectations. Whatever a school might teach or church might preach, parents usually have the final say for a child growing up, even after they become teenagers.
This is why BLM and progressive activists in general detest the family. They rightly see it as the main obstacle to their cultural revolution. Sure, they will start with toppling statues, painting ugly murals, rewriting history, and canceling dissenting views, but the keystone of culture is the family. A loving home will stubbornly continue to thwart the leftist propaganda projected everywhere. A self-sufficient unit, a nuclear family can preserve its way of life and insulate from damaging outside forces.
Acknowledging this, leftists will defend their hostility by contending that families continue to nurture prejudice and backward views. According to many leftists, the only thing the toxic home passes on to future generations is intolerance and ignorance. This is the stated reason for many pivotal leftists’ desire, such as John Dewey, to separate children from parents.
On the contrary, the nuclear family teaches tolerance and empathy. One can choose his friends, but he cannot choose his family. Respecting the dignity of others regardless of their merits arises from continual interaction with imperfect, unchosen family members.
As Rusty Reno wrote in the American Mind, “The family is a school of loyalty.” Without family, people might never learn to trust others, especially strangers with a different background. They might become intolerant, fearful, and ultimately lonely — perfect candidates for radicalization.
Family Is Empowering
By preserving culture and supporting children, the nuclear family consequently becomes the highest and most effective form of empowerment. Unfortunately, one person’s empowerment is another person’s privilege. Thus, in the name of social justice, BLM would rather deny all people this privilege than extend it to the less fortunate.
To its credit, BLM understands the real importance of the nuclear family, which is why activists explicitly attack it. For far too long, however, the majority of Americans have not understood this and have allowed the family to disintegrate. It wasn’t Plato’s “Republic,” Hobbes’ “Leviathan,” or Marx’s “State” taking children from their parents so they could be indoctrinated and assigned a role in the system. It was a culture that permitted abortion and no-fault divorce, redefined marriage and sex, and replaced fathers with the welfare state. And it was parents who outsourced their children to mediocre schools and mind-numbing screens.
What was once the apex of human experience is now seen as a terrible burden. Unsurprisingly, millennials don’t want to marry or become parents, nor does Gen Z, which accounts for the below-replacement U.S. fertility rates the last few years. Inundated with leftist narratives through popular culture, many young adults would prefer to cohabitate, own a dog, and binge-watch “The Office.” If they yearn for something more meaningful, they can engage in slacktivism and support causes such as BLM.
Long before Americans see the effect of the upcoming demographic winter, wherein adult diapers outsell children’s diapers and every social entitlement goes bankrupt, they will see a collapse in the culture. Without family acting as a cultural bulwark preserving American ideals in the face of ubiquitous leftist messaging, society will slip into dysfunction and chaos.
To put America first, one must put family first. It’s not enough to simply disagree and prove organizations like BLM wrong. Conservatives and patriotic Americans must support the nuclear family. Without family, the community becomes the mass, a collection of people without ideals to hold them together. With family, the community and its members become stronger, and Americans can finally attain and experience the kind of social harmony and justice they so desire.
Auguste Meyrat is an English teacher in the Dallas area. He holds an MA in humanities and an MEd in educational leadership. He is the senior editor of The Everyman and has written essays for The Federalist, The American Conservative, and The Imaginative Conservative, as well as the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Follow him on Twitter.