The Catholic Thing
Confessions of a Deviant Print E-mail
By David Warren   
Saturday, 27 July 2013

The family is a subversive institution, as all of us know very well. I am referring here of course not to the range of new “alternative” family units, all of which appear to be perfectly compatible with the interests of our contemporary State, but only to the “traditional” unit, consisting of mama, papa, and wee bairns – together with that mysteriously toxic array of uncles and aunts, cousins and grandpersons, in-laws and out-laws that radiate from this “nuclear” core.

That larger families are more dangerous than small might go without saying, and also that the happier the family the bigger its threat to the (currently) established order.

Again, this is obvious. Families offer raw and increasingly illicit competition to the State as providers of social services and healthcare, of goods and services, and as sources of political indoctrination. Each family is in effect a secret cell, partly beyond the reach of the tax department, passing money and other valuables back and forth in a frivolous and undocumented manner.

Worse, the State still feels compelled to partially legitimize the existence of these “black markets,” at an untold cost to the revenues needed to support public services, and pay interest on the mushrooming national debt. It could be argued that there would be no debt at all, if traditional families were paying their fair share. Instead they are allowed to hoard money away, or spend it on private vanities such as detached houses.

I could go on. The traditional family was largely, if not entirely responsible for the population explosion, and thus all the material problems that have followed from the proliferation of people on this planet. If you want to know the cause of global warming, and the many other environmental crises that settled science has been patiently identifying on behalf of the State, look no farther.

Mom, dad, and childers are to blame. Many remain quite shameless about it, and continue to consume our finite resources without compunction. They act as if they have some “natural right” to food, clothing, and shelter, in return for their selfishly focused labor; as if private property were not theft. There will never be equality so long as the traditional family is allowed to interfere with the State’s scientific programs of resource allocation.

It is worse than that. As Mary Eberstadt recently demonstrated, beyond the possibility of correction, the relation between traditional family and traditional religion is like that of the strands in the double helix. The two have risen or fallen together, with frightening simultaneity, throughout modern Western history.

Now, truth to tell, I’m a bit of a rogue myself. Perhaps gentle reader may attribute this to my own dark childhood. I was raised in one of these traditional families, a dangerously happy one, and while its nuclear core was not especially large, my uncles and aunts on the paternal side were gratuitous breeders. They engendered more cousins than I can count, and succeeded in filling the heads of several with the sort of religion that inspired them to become repeat offenders.

My own experimenting with Catholic Christianity is notorious. In my defense I will say that it has done little damage, or maybe even some public good: for I seem to alienate more than I attract. And the State thrives on alienation. But these cousins of mine, who have gone Christian, or more precisely remained so: what a scandal! They went underground, and until the day when the cops search my files for their names and addresses, they will continue to undermine social progress.

    Little George Alexander Louis is big news

Indeed, the forces of reaction were at large this week, as anyone with access to a television will have noticed. A family of breeders in England became the focus of international attention, when one of their women gave birth to an “heir.” U.S. media were puzzling why Americans – free of overt family rule for nearly ten generations – should be enchanted by this spectacle.

It was as bad, perhaps worse than some earlier irruptions of royalty-watching in the USA. I gather that in 1837, for instance, the country was seized by an unhealthy fascination over the coronation of Queen Victoria. And I remember the bleating over Princess Diana.

Americans were hardly alone in their proclivities. In China, a country where the nuclear family has surely been pulverized by State anti-population policies, the story also went viral, with national betting on what name the child should be given. (“George,” “Edward,” “Philip,” and “David,” were the top four suggestions.) Did they not remember the Opium Wars?

Ditto around the rest of the world, except curiously enough in most Muslim countries, where State media were instructed to play the story down. But even there, minor end-of-newscast mentions triggered tidal waves of comments and hits.

I confessed to being a rogue, above, and now must confess to some specific misbehavior. I found myself on television, pitted against a prominent Canadian republican, disgusted and discouraged by the whole circus.

While I proudly claimed it was not the sort of thing that keeps me glued to the idiot box – for when royal celebrity coverage is prolonged, I, too, start feeling the need to gargle – I nevertheless observed that it made a nice story. Stuff like that, and the adoring reception of Pope Francis in Brazil, provided some contrast to the other media circuses.

Therefore I proposed to cautiously join in, and “celebrate the celebration.” The whole world was watching, and the whole world was happy. There was goodwill and good cheer, even from the pursed lips of many liberal talking heads. Nothing bad happened.

Well, a few republican snobs whined and sniffed. But we were reminded how pleasant the world can be, when no one is listening to them, or taking orders from them about what we should like or not like.

“Normal human beings,” I outrageously argued, “regardless of race, creed, color, or class, love pageantry, and babies. Let’s have more of both.”

David Warren is a former editor of the Idler magazine and columnist with the Ottawa Citizen. He has extensive experience in the Near and Far East. His blog, Essays in Idleness, is now to be found at:
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (16)Add Comment
written by Randall, July 27, 2013
“Normal human beings, regardless of race, creed, color, or class, love pageantry, and babies. Let’s have more of both.”

written by Dave, July 27, 2013
Bravo! Let's take it the next step further. Where the Divine Liturgy is celebrated in all its splendor -- where the Majesty of God is revered in adoration, praise, and thanksgiving, people remembering that Holy Mass is celebrated in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and not in the name of the "presider" or of the congregation -- the inevitable effect is that worshipers leave the Holy Sacrifice with an increase of respect for their own majesty and dignity as bearers of the image of God and as sons in the Son, and with an increase both in their own personal freedom and in their capacity to live socially as members of families, neighborhoods, communities, nations, and the Church. This is why divine worship -- supremely offered in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, source and summit of Christian life -- is the ultimately "subversive" act, and why the totalitarians seek to eliminate it, either through direct persecution, as in Communist countries, or through marginalization, as in our decadent West.

Thank you, Mr. Warren, for showing us that the hoopla over the royal birth is but a protest, however inchoate, against the leveling of society underway. Perhaps the next step is to help people understand that because they are created in the image and likeness of God, and because Christ died to redeem all people and elevate them to the life of grace, we need not live this dignity vicariously. This is not by the way a call for the end of monarchy and aristocracy, but rather for a refocused understanding that monarchs and aristocrats, when they live their privilege correctly -- when they live as Christian rulers - show us all how to live the royalty that is our common birthright, restored in Christ -- see I Peter 2:9.
written by Clement Williams, July 27, 2013
My parents took the trouble to teach us, their children, about the history of our great nation beginning with the European migration to the then New World and the reasons therefor. The reasons for the American War for independence from Great Britain, the reasons for the Democratic Republican Constitution AND for the addition of the specified and enumerated Rights of Americans were explained to us in the context of 1 Samuel Chapter 8 the Bible.

The real story of how the United States has reverted to the pre-war of independence state of a monarchy with a bunch of squabbling dukes, duchesses and courtiers in the congress and in the increasing emulation of the very state of affairs which the citizens of the American colonies rebelled against is shamefully obvious. There are a very few but increasingly deviant brothers and sisters among the Libertarians in our country.
written by Jack,CT, July 27, 2013
The birth of any child is a celebration
and a gift from the Lord!
I am not of the group that must read every
shred of the Royal news but a positive story
in the news is refreshing.
written by Rich in MN, July 27, 2013
I thought I read somewhere that, when the Titanic first hit the iceberg, many people on board had no idea how serious the problem was or how little time they had to live. There were a few knowledgeable people saying, "Hey, the ship is sinking...; ummmm, this unsinkable ship is sinking." These people were initially ignored.
The problem with the fate of the family vis-a-vis the fate of society is that the ship sinks over centuries rather than over a few hours. Sadly, as we become more self-centered as a society, our skepticism is hardened by our selfish apathy as we have ignored the prescient voices from the 20th Century like Chesterton, Belloc, and many others. While we have important modern voices sounding the alarm (thank you, Mary Eberstadt et al), I would like to quote from "Family and Civilization," a study published in 1947 by Harvard Sociologist and family historian, Carle Zimmerman:
"[C]hildren are the fundamental basis of familism. A decay in familism is a decay in the social system of biological reproduction. Consequently those societies in which familism has decayed are those that are themselves decaying -- and very rapidly. The decay of the family becomes a fundamental 'cause' or vehicular agent for the further decay of the society. This is exactly what happened in Greece and Rome in the later periods, and this is exactly what is happening in our Western society today. No amount of hemming and hawing, or hiding our heads like ostriches, can disguise this fact" -- Zimmerman, page 198 of the 2008 abridged edition (originally published in 1947).

Zimmerman lists a few manifestations and symptoms of serious family and societal decay: plummeting reproduction rates, skyrocketing divorce rates, and "increased acceptance of perverted forms of sex behavior."

Yup, yup yup....
written by ken tremendous, July 27, 2013
Any evidence provided here that "the state" is hostile to childbirth and family? I missed it.

Another angle on this you might consider Mr. Warren is: wages for males all throughout the Western world--especially the US--are in decline, as, not coincidentally, so is male participation in the labor force...and thus so are traditional families headed by male breadwinners.

Maybe instead of yet another piece bashing "the state", Mr. Warren, we need to consider what, if anything, "the state" can do to push private wages up--particularly in the bottom 2/3rds of the income distribution all to make traditional family formation easier.
written by Sir Mark, July 27, 2013
Ken Tremendous writes: "Any evidence provided here that "the state" is hostile to childbirth and family?"

Is that a serious question? Naw, it can't be. You're just messin' with us. You don't mean to tell us that you believe the state is not hostile to childbirth. You don't mean that. You couldn't possibly mean that?
written by Avery Tödesulh, July 27, 2013
What a great pleasure it is to read David Warren. The work of Mary Eberstadt that he references provides the background material upon which he builds, so its helpful to have read her book ... Wonderful, powerful, witty post!
written by jason taylor, July 27, 2013
Well said.
written by Deacon Ed Peitler, July 27, 2013
Until I read this commentary I hadn't realized that the State is actually envious of the position of the family in our society. Make no mistake about it, I have known that the State was doing everything in its power to destroy the family but never did I think that the State was jealously competitive with the family for influence.

So the State thinks IT can replace the family? Sorry, it's been tried in the Soviet Union. It didn't work then and there; it won't work here and now.
written by Sue, July 27, 2013
"So the State thinks IT can replace the family? Sorry, it's been tried in the Soviet Union. It didn't work then and there; it won't work here and now."

It did work there (Russia) - KGB still in charge, no Nuremberg takedown...and they're still in familial freefall.

And it's happening here, albeit with a more Brave-New-World flavor. The State becomes "father" to all of the illegitimate welfare dependees. It also "fathers" all of the children from broken marriages and split households where parental rights have eroded. And it "fathers" the test tube babies whose rent-a-parents have commissioned the technocrats to fashion them a baby commodity for them. Whenever useful idiots weaken on marriage, Uncle Sam is happy to yank those parental rights away and appropriate them to himself.

written by Deacon Ed Peitler, July 28, 2013
Sue, we agree. But my point is that the State is actually choreographing this entire scenario of the demise of the family. The State loathes the family and panders to people's human weakness in order to undermine the family. But it cannot succeed in replacing "father" or "mother."
written by craig, July 30, 2013
The state not only subsidizes abortion of the unborn, it is fairly slavering at the prospect of forcing all citizens to fund abortion in their private capacity. The state rewards frivolous divorce and subsidizes the forcible separation of children from their fathers. Wages for men are in decline because the state has subsidized millions of new entries into the work force (women and immigrants).
written by Chris In Maryland, July 31, 2013
Ken T:

The State's lawyer in chief, Holder, has a regular income stream renting his property out as an abortion mill. The state gives our taxes to Planned [non]Parenthood.
written by Sue, July 31, 2013
"Wages for men are in decline because the state has subsidized millions of new entries into the work force (women and immigrants)."

This deserves to be repeated and underlined. And what a sea change could happen for the family (and the economy!) if so many of the Rosie the Riveters came home to take care of their own children and grandmas.
written by Chris in Maryland, July 31, 2013
Exactly Sue...exactly.

This immigration thing is where BIG DEMOCRAT & BIG REPUBLICAN interests unite, against existing American citizens, for power (Dems want TX) and money (Ch of Commerce wants lower cost labor - across the low and middle wage spectrum).

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