Monday, July 04, 2016

"Family Values" and America's Greatness

Many claim that America's greatness is owed to its “Christian heritage” and “family values.” They simply have not studied history. Both Christianity and the institution of family predate America by over a thousand years, and most of the places in which these existed were not great at all.

America's greatness is owed to superior political and economic practices: Namely democracy, scientific and technological progress, and business. It is these that distinguish America from feudal-aged England or Inquisition-aged Spain. And it is important to remind people of this, as many tend to forget.

I am a family man, and I go to church. But I would not dream of demanding that the next person do the same. Christians are not oppressed by the fact that there are atheists, single mothers and homosexuals. Nobody is telling them that they have to live that way. What is demanded of them is tolerance, which is in no way oppressive.

Christians are nowhere close to being persecuted in America. The only place where Christians are persecuted is the Muslim world; and there, everyone is persecuted. The American Christians have every right to stand up to their brothers and sisters in Middle East. But they have no business claiming that they are themselves being persecuted. And them doing so insults people who are being persecuted for real.

Are Christianity and family values responsible at all for America's greatness? America became the world's greatest country in early 20th century. It was a time of great economic and technological progress; it was also a time when “traditional” values were being questioned. Feminism became strong at that time; so did sexual freedom. Prior to that, in the Victorian era, England was the greatest country in the world.

The World War II generation saw a return to “traditional family values”; but that was not limited to America. In 1950s most of the world, including the Soviet Union, was family-oriented; and once again most of the world's countries at that time were far from great. My Soviet Communist grandmother was just as family-oriented as the American 1950s conservatives; but nobody among the agitators for family values recommends Communism.

Is family a good thing? In my case it has been a wonderful thing; but I also know that it can be a terrible thing as well. The number of people I know who got raped, badly injured, severely beaten, even killed, in families is vast. The family is as good as what goes on inside the family. A good parent does not need to bludgeon his children with concept of family values to force their loyalty; his actions toward them generate genuine love and respect.

There will always be families; there will always be parents. A person truly interested in family values will make family a better experience for the people inside the family. In my parenting I use intelligence. I treat my daughter not as an animal but as an intelligent form of life. When she does something wrong I tell her why it is wrong, and she does not do it any more.

If family values are again to become a force in the Western world, it has to be done right. Incest and brutality must be eradicated, and parents must be taught to treat their children like human beings rather than like beasts. Family must be done better. That being done, family can again become a value.

So no, the people who beat their wives and rape their children are not responsible for America's greatness. Rather they are a disgrace to the country they claim to love. America's greatness is in no way owed to such practices; and a true American patriot will see this and work to make family a better experience for wives and children.


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