May 1, 2023
The Next Generation
Our children are the future of our civilization
By: Brian Almon
The very concept of the family is in the process of deconstruction today. We are engaged in a culture war over abortion, homosexuality, polygamy, and transgenderism, all of which confront the questions of “What is life? What is our purpose? What do we have the right to do to ourselves?” On the periphery are issues such as adoption, surrogacy, in-vitro fertilization, and contraception.
These questions can seem daunting, especially when we are being carpet-bombed by propaganda on these issues. Prior to Obergefell v. Hodges, which imposed gay marriage on the country by fiat, a clear majority of Republicans believed marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Less than eight years later, that has completely flipped, and a majority of Republicans – even among Christians – support gay marriage.
The left did not win that war through popular sovereignty. Gay marriage was defeated at the ballot box nearly everywhere it was tried, including in deep blue California. No, a few well-financed activists managed to impose it via judicial fiat, and then won the rhetorical war after the fact. Few people today are willing to publicly oppose gay marriage and be labeled a hateful bigot. Republicans try to say that Democrats are the real homophobes due to their promotion of transgenderism. In another decade they’ll be accusing the left of being the real transphobes due to their promotion of whatever post-humanist nonsense is yet to come.
What if I told you that there was a perspective in which these daunting issues of humanity, society, and rhetoric become much easier?
A few weeks ago I listened to podcaster Alex Kaschuta interview a woman from Seattle named Katy Faust. Faust runs an organization called Them Before Us that is dedicated to children’s rights. Now, I don’t know about you, but I am suspicious when I hear the phrase children’s rights thrown around. I’ve become accustomed to radical progressive organizations using that rhetoric to support breaking up the nuclear family.
Katy Faust quickly allayed my fears. Her entire premise is that children deserve to be raised by their mother and father.
Consider the simple profundity of that statement. It is at once obvious, while being incredibly revolutionary at the same time. The idea that children have the right to grow up in the household of the father and mother who brought them into this world has been the basis of civilization since the dawn of time, yet its very utterance in the 21st century marks you as a radical, even a bigot.
In the introduction to Faust’s book, Robert George writes:
Which should we prioritize: the desires of adults or the needs of children? There is no avoiding this question – for any of us. And there is no way to be on both sides of it. You must – you will – come down on one side or the other. So, in the words of the old Union anthem: “Which side are you on, boys? Which side are you on?”
Let me make my own position clear: I stand on the side of prioritizing the needs of children.
Once you truly accept this statement as a truism, then the answers to all of the daunting social issues of our day fall neatly into place. Once you accept that children have an absolute right to grow up in a loving family led by the parents who conceived them, then many of the arguments regarding abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism are suddenly made moot.
The emotional arguments in favor of these issues all stem from the desires of adults with no regard to the needs of children, that is, they make children secondary to the adults. Faust calls her organization Them Before Us in direct contradiction to that modern selfish attitude.
Abortions are done out of a desire for convenience by adults who wanted to engage in sexual activity without consequence. Most people who are pro life agree that life begins at conception, and that life, no matter what stage of development, deserves to be protected and nourished.
Homosexuality and transgenderism pervert the natural order of the family, creating situations where children are raised by two men, two women, or people who are confused about the meaning of those words. Children need stability, but these relationships are anything but stable. Even what we might consider to be a loving homosexual couple still deprives a child of his or her father or mother, and in Faust’s view, that is unacceptable.
Divorce is just as bad. A child’s world can be shattered in an instant, and everything he thought was normal is inverted. Many divorced couples eventually begin dating again, perhaps even remarrying, only adding to the confusion. Society today makes excuses for this, justifying divorce by saying it’s better for a child to be split in two than live with parents who are at odds with each other. But this is usually just cope. In her interview and her book, Faust lays out all the statistics that show the detrimental effect of single parenthood on children. Crime, depression, drug abuse, suicide – all of these increase when children are deprived of growing up with both their parents in a marital relationship.
Faust describes how news media celebrates stories of divorce, gender transitions, and homosexual families while ignoring the plight of the children involved. Children are often made to put on happy faces and not talk about the turmoil inside, if they even have the vocabulary to describe it. Once you accept the idea that children have a natural right to be raised by their parents in a loving and stable home, then you will react with absolute disgust at such media puff pieces.
The nuclear family has been the foundation of civilization for thousands of years. The Roman orator Cicero wrote that “The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common.” What do leftist revolutionaries want to do today? Nothing less than end civilization itself. The leadership of Black Lives Matter, you’ll recall, wrote on their official website that they were “trained Marxists” and listed abolishing the nuclear family as one of their priorities. The President of the United States recently said that children do not belong to you, rather they belong to everyone. And we have seen what they do to children when they have the chance.
In the face of such opposition, it is a mistake to compromise. We on the right say the nuclear family is good, the foundation of a functioning society. The left says it is bad, and must be erased. What then is the virtue in meeting them halfway? How can we accept that fatherlessness, homosexuality, transgenderism, and polyamory are acceptable alternatives to the nuclear family? Any compromise on this issue involves accepting the leftist premise that there is nothing unique and special about a married father and mother raising their children. Obergefell was not the first redefinition of marriage; no-fault divorce was.
Katy Faust even goes after surrogacy and in-vitro fertilization. Surrogacy, she explains, removes the connection between the child and the woman who carried him or her. While it was perhaps intended to help parents who could not conceive naturally, it has now turned women into commodities; wombs for rent.
There was an absolutely dystopian photo posted on Twitter recently by a homosexual couple with their rented surrogate mother blurred in the background.
As usual, the left doubles down on whatever they accuse the right of doing. Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale as a warning against Christian theocracy, but it turns out that the it’s the homosexual community turning women into commodities.
Faust explains that in-vitro fertilization also turns childbearing into something unnatural. While I certainly feel for women who want children and yet have some medical issue that stands in the way, there is no way for someone who is truly pro-life to support IVF. Eggs are extracted, fertilized, and then re-implanted, but many are often discarded after the fertilization process. If you believe that life begins at conception, then you must accept that these are literal human lives that are being thrown away.
The idea that children deserve to be raised by the father and mother who conceived them sounds old fashioned, but there really is something important about a biological connection to your family. If that were not the case, then nobody would take issue with babies being mixed up in the maternity ward. After all, a baby is a baby, right? Obviously adoption is a rare exception, but even that wonderful thing has been corrupted by our modern commoditized society.
At the core of all of these things is the idea that children are accessories to the desires of adults. The reason that civilization is built on the foundation of the nuclear family is because that is how nature works – that is how God designed humanity. It takes a father and a mother to bring a child into the world, and it is therefore their responsibility to raise that child, and the right of the child to be raised by them.
We have seen homosexual couples demand that their right to buy a child be recognized by society and paid for by the public. That is a dystopian and dastardly road to walk down, but we are already headed in that direction. We are sacrificing the next generation for the desires of our own. Young children being taught to dance on stage in drag while adults throw money at them is only the latest and most disgusting form of this pathology.
In his review of Mary Harrington’s new book Feminism Against Progress, Charles Haywood describes how feminism has destroyed women through “unhinged worship of unfettered autonomy, the core demand of an insane ideology falsely sold as progress.” I suggest that what Harrington applies to feminism is true of modern society in general. We live in the most prosperous era of human history. Families living in poverty can still afford huge TVs and smartphones, while food is plentiful. (Whether or not the content consumed – both in media and in food – is healthy is another question.) We live in a time when our every whim is easily satisfied, and I think we have forgotten the tremendous obligations that come with being alive.
Every new redefinition of marriage, from divorce to homosexual marriage to polyamory, has been built upon the need to satisfy adult desires. In a piece looking at the rise of polygamy for Public Discourse, Scott Yenor writes that “…reconceiving of marriage in terms of ‘self-expression’ has been a terrible, value-laden mistake, betraying the pretensions to liberal neutrality. Our laws shape our culture. Our culture should favor two-person, man–woman marriage because marriage is above all concerned with having children and raising them as reflections of the unified love between a man and a woman.”
Simply wanting a child is not a good enough reason to have one. Bringing children into the world comes with astronomical responsibility – you are initiating a sentient and autonomous human being, with a lifetime of potential, and your decisions will have consequences for generations to come. That is not something to undertake lightly.
Once you accept that children have a right to a mother and a father then your perspective will radically shift. Do you want a baby because it will look good in Christmas pictures, or make you feel fulfilled in some way? Or do you fully understand the responsibility of bringing life into the world, and are ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to help that child thrive?
The leftist response to what I wrote above is likely to say that there are many pathologies in the heterosexual married community as well, and they are correct. But two wrongs don’t make a right. Now that we have established that so much of the left’s social program is nonsense that harms children, and now that we have established what a solemn undertaking it is to bring a child into the world, what are you as a conservative Christian parent prepared to do?
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Pastor Doug Wilson of Moscow, Idaho in person. Preaching to the choir, he asked what on earth Christian families are doing still sending their children to public schools.
Everyone on the right understands that public schools are leftist indoctrination factories. Most of us grasp that incidents of sexual harassment and abuse are rampant. Some might even recognize that there is no reason for a 19th century education system to be our default. Michael Malice goes as far as to point out that public schools are the one place most of us will ever experience physical violence in our lives.
Yet most conservative Christian families nevertheless send their children into the meat grinder, assuming that dinnertime conversation and Sunday School will be enough to counteract anything they learn during the day.
Why? Because that’s how it’s always been done, or at least as far back as most people can remember. Yet if you were to take Katy Faust’s perspective about the rights of your children seriously, then what might you do differently? Would you sacrifice some money so your children can go to a private school that affirms your values, rather than destroying them? Would you sacrifice some time so that you could raise them at home rather than outsourcing child rearing to strangers? Would you prioritize time with your children over spending more time at work to afford to buy them nice things? Would you zealously guard their hearts and minds, rather than allowing social and mass media to inform their developing ideas?
Changing your perspective to the rights of your children means changing your perspective on everything. Divorce should not be an option, save perhaps very extreme circumstances, because you know in your heart and in your head that it’s not good for your children. Falling out of love is not an excuse to sacrifice your child’s well-being. It goes beyond that though – choosing the father or mother of your future children should be a decision made with the utmost prayer and preparation, rather than basing it on evanescent feelings or trifles.
Simply put, recognizing the rights of your children means looking forward more than just the next few weeks, few months, or few years. You must ask yourself how your decisions today will impact your children throughout their lives, and their children, and their children after them.
Society once provided support for these ideas, and guardrails against doing things that were detrimental to children. Yet today that has been inverted. Divorce is easy. Renting wombs is legal. Gay marriage is celebrated. Children can now be issued birth certificates without a listed sex and with random names rather than their biological father and mother.
These are the things that the conservative movement needs to be pushing back on, because everything flows from how we treat our children. We know that the modern world is trying to create atomized individuals with no connection to family, tribe, or community, so we have to stop helping this process and start hindering it. Divorce needs to be harder. Surrogacy needs to either be banned or at least severely restricted from where it is today. And adoption must once again put the needs of the children first, rather than the desires of the would-be parents.
Adoption is the elephant in the room for this discussion, isn’t it? Adoption can go either way – it can be used to satisfy the selfish desires of adults who want a child to complete their image of what a family should be, or it can be a selfless act of sacrifice to take care of a child who, for whatever reason, cannot be raised by his or her father and mother.
Katy Faust is an adoptive mother herself, which informs her perspective. Adoption can indeed be a wonderful thing, she says, but it must always be done from the perspective of doing what is best for the child. When CPS takes children away from loving parents who have done no wrong, then that system, meant to protect children, is completely broken. When prominent gay activists are fast-tracked to adopting two boys, only to be charged with horrifically abusing those poor boys for their own perverted desires, that means the system itself is being used against the very children it is meant to protect.
Society really is broken at all levels. Parents are not fulfilling their obligations to their children, obligations that include marrying the right person, staying married, and sacrificing their time and energy to make sure their children are raised in the best possible manner. Our laws have been twisted to favor the desires of adults rather than the well being of children, and our media celebrates the wrong things, leading to a vicious cycle as people forget the truly awesome responsibility of raising a child.
Katy Faust’s philosophy of them before us is an absolute game changer for how we look at social issues and policy. What was once common knowledge – that children are the future of our civilization – has been largely forgotten by a generation that simply wants to live in the moment.
“What is life? What is our purpose? What do we have the right to do to ourselves?”
Children have the right to be raised by their fathers and mothers in a loving and stable home, and communities and laws should support that structure. The future of our civilization depends on it.
We must broaden our horizons beyond the fleeting moments of the present and ask ourselves what we can do to shape the next century. It starts today, in our own families.
There are three women whose perspectives I have lately found valuable as I have been considering these ideas. I recommend you follow Katy Faust, Mary Harrington, and Peachy Keenan on Twitter.
Note: A descendant of American pioneers, Brian writes about the importance of culture and about current events in the context of history. His work can be found on Substack, here.