Ahead of His Time

The problem that faces us today … is due to the inherent contradictions of an abnormal state of culture. The natural tendency … is for … society to give itself up passively to the machinery of modern cosmopolitan life. But this is no solution. It leads merely to the breaking down of the old structure of society and the loss of the traditional moral standards without creating anything which can take their place.

As in the decline of the ancient world, the family is steadily losing its form and its social significance, and the state absorbs more and more of the life of its members. The home is no longer a centre of social activity; it has become merely a sleeping place for a number of independent wage-earners. The functions which were formerly fulfilled by the head of the family are now being taken over by the state, which educates the children and takes the responsibility for their maintenance and health.

From Christopher Dawson’s essay, “The Patriarchal Family in History” (1933), collected in The Dynamics of World History (1956). (Paragraph break added: LC.)

Let us hope for an incremental bit of progress on one front: parental choice in the schooling of children. (By progress, of course, I don’t mean the kind of “progress” sought by regressive “progressives,” who would have us and our progeny bow to the almighty state — as long as they control it.)