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The Destruction of Fatherhood Leads to the Destruction of the Fatherland by Grégor Puppinck

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The Destruction of Fatherhood Leads to the Destruction of the Fatherland

"Portrait of Alexander J. Cassatt and His Son, Robert Kelso Cassatt" (1884), a 100.3 × 81.3 cm oil on canvas by Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), located in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“The father is a man and the mother a woman.” This was the title of a speech I delivered at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Budapest on May 20—and a statement I wholeheartedly agree with.

As a husband and a father, I can tell you that the father is a man and the mother a woman. But moreover, the man should be a father. What I mean by this is that in order to be considered accomplished, a man ought to be a father, or at least to behave as a father, even if he has no child. A father is a man who gives protection and direction, who has authority and bears responsibly.

But, today, sadly, too many boys do not even have an idea of what it means to be a man, a husband, and a father. Where are the examples of such men when the liberal doxa pretends to ‘deconstruct’ sexual genders? In France, Emmanuel Macron is an example of such a deconstructed person—he has even asserted that “a father is not necessarily a male.”

Of course, without fatherhood, there cannot be any strong family, nor any lasting fatherland.

The destruction of fatherhood leads to the destruction of the fatherland, because the family is the place where persons can be deeply rooted in one land and in history. It is the family and the homeland that allow us to live with historical depth, instead of floating on the surface of current events.

The family is the unique site of transmission of life and culture.

In a world that is increasingly artificial and virtual, the family also roots us deeply into nature and biology. Blood ties, sexuality, and procreation are the most direct and beautiful experience of our participation in natural life. There is nothing more ecological than defending the family.

I want to add that family is a reality you cannot ‘buy.’ Family reminds us that the most important things in life are not for sale. It takes virtues rather than money to start a family.

But the destruction of the family doesn’t lead only to the destruction of the homeland. It also leads to the loss of our true and fundamental freedoms.

We know that all dictatorships share in common their will to destroy the family. They want to transform the natural, organic composition of society into an artificial construction; to take the place of the parents and of God in order to control and subjugate society.

This was, and still is, the desire of the communists and all kinds of socialists.

After the Second World War, the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sought to prevent dictatorships from altering the relationship of society and the family. The UDHR says that it is the family, not the individual, that is “the natural and fundamental group unit of society.” That is to say, the family does not owe its existence to the state. Since then, numerous international texts have upheld this natural and organic understanding of society, based on subsidiarity: man is not an abstract and isolated being, but a living and social one.

Likewise, the drafters of the European Convention of Human Rights wanted to protect the rights of parents to educate their children. Through the family, they wanted to protect the “youth against the threat of nationalization, appropriation, or requisition by the state.”

Yes, families are a wall; a bulwark against dictatorship, a bastion of liberty. This is because it is within families that all heritages survive and are transmitted: education, religion, history, and love, as well as, often, work and resources, such as family businesses and farms.

It is wrong to say that individualism is the only alternative to collectivism and dictatorship, because radical individualism also leads to alienation, as we all know. It leads to a similar submission to the state and other global powers.

In this regard, the postmodern ideology is not different from the communist and the socialist ones.

The family is at odds with the ideology of the postmodernists. This is why they hate it so much and are attempting to destroy it. Family, as an institution, is under attack at every level; we all know that. It is deconstructed in the laws and the media, and parents are increasingly dispossessed of their duties and rights towards their children.

Today, sadly, too many children, boys and girls, do not know what a healthy family is. Even the European Court of Human Rights deconstructed the family: it became purely subjective, a mere set of emotional “ties” between individuals.

The destruction of the family is done in the name of freedom, of individual freedom, but it is in actuality a path to servitude.

This is the fool’s bargain of the postmodernists: they pretend that the individual is finally becoming ‘autonomous’ and that the ‘right’ for a man to be a mother, or to kill himself through assisted suicide, or to practice abortion, represent the greatest progress of humanity.

In reality, no one has ever been less autonomous than today’s postmodern individual, who is totally dependent; incapable of surviving alone for a few days.

The right to true autonomy would seek to strengthen the capacity of each person and family to live in a self-sustaining manner, emancipated from mass culture and from the material and emotional precariousness of salaried, divorceable tenants, for whom nothing is stable.  

In fact, we shall seek independence rather than just autonomy.

The best way to fight statism and to strengthen society, freedom, and responsibility is to strengthen families. If we want our countries to be strong, to survive, and to remain independent, we must reinforce the family in all its dimensions.

This is why, as a final word, I want to congratulate Hungary for its successful family policy that is leading to more marriages, less divorces, and more births, and for its efforts to transmit its heritage to future generations. This is a condition for independence and true freedom; and it should be the main goal of every decent government, because European civilization is worth salvaging and deserves to flourish.

Grégor Puppinck is director of the European Centre for Law and Justice and an associate professor of law.