Monday, May 18, 2009

Deconstructing Fatherhood

by Smitty

Change can be good. The Constitution as initially ratified had glaring flaws. These have been fixed, albeit at a price.
Change for its own sake, in contrast, lays waste to what is good and gives damn-all in return. The symbol "marriage" has been under siege. At least its defenders are living enough to cry foul, which is more than can be said for the victims in the abortion mills.
Recently making waves is Harry Knox, as reported by CNSNews:
A controversial member of President Barack Obama’s faith-based council said that part of the administration’s role in promoting responsible fatherhood should include moving beyond America’s “heteronormative view of fatherhood.”

Putting him in context, it's almost possible that he has a point:
“Responsible fatherhood offers us an immense opportunity to speak to a real need in the country,” said Knox, director of the faith and religion program at the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual rights group, during the PBS interview broadcast on its Religion & Ethics Newsweekly show.
“It’ll be challenging to do that for instance in ways that are not dismissive of the tremendous gifts of single mothers; not to sort of hold a heteronormative view of fatherhood up as the only model,” said Knox.
I suppose it's the phrase "only model" that's the sticking point.
Really, Knox: an XY chromosomal makeup for the role is an invariant for fatherhood. You can't have that any other way, an more than you can have a marriage composed of other than a male and a female. I like to quote Abe Lincoln in reply to the attempt at implying an alternative Where None Exists:
"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."
Knox nearly has a point, that we do not need to go around denigrating single mothers. My father was deployed for such a chunk of my childhood that she was a de facto single mom. God forbid the sad conditions of the Carter Administration return to afflict our military like that again. There are plenty of other women who've done admirable jobs when men decided to get their Springsteen on. However, the sin of sad, overgrown boys is beside the point of defending the crucial institution of fatherhood. Society sinks as spinally deficient males like Knox fail to keep the boat bailed amidst the flood of nonsense.
What is the reward for Knox-ian error? Dr. Helen provides an answer:
Mr. Lewis's account of becoming a father to his three children, begins promisingly. "At some point in the last few decades, the American male sat down at the negotiating table with the American female and -- let us be frank -- got fleeced," he writes.
The poor sucker agreed to take on responsibility for all sorts of menial tasks -- tasks that his own father was barely aware of -- and received nothing in return. If he was hoping for some gratitude, he was mistaken. According to Mr. Lewis: "Women may smile at a man pushing a baby stroller, but it is with the gentle condescension of a high officer of an army toward a village that surrendered without a fight."
Admittedly, I'm still not a father. There are some medical reasons, as well as hope for the future. One way or another, I'll join that elite group. And when I do, I'll gladly do my share of the menial tasks. It's a part of the experience. But I will do it in such a way as to underscore that the heteronormative view of fatherhood is the only model, Mr. Knox. If the daughters want Pride & Prejudice, you know me and the boys are chasing it with The Terminator. Lest they become wasted modern lickspittles instead of men.

Update: The Dead Hand has a more humorous take.


  1. "God forbid the sad conditions of the Carter Administration return to afflict our military like that again. "

    Have you heard of "Stop Loss" ?
    Surely you could not be that oblivious...

  2. Why not denigrate single motherhood?
    Praising it as some kind of sainthood has just led to more of them...
    The problem is that the sentence "We're denigrating single motherhood as a model, not single mothers as persons" is too complex a concept for leftists to grasp. Half of them just assume it's all personal moral righteousness about damning sinners, and the other half assume we're just fickle or kidding and that we're really actually secretly praising single motherhood. Depends on which half of the sentence they comprehend (which is already asking a lot for leftists).

    But neither praise nor denigration has made any improvement to the inadequacy of the single-mother-model for raising kids into productive members of society. Sure there are anecdotal triumphs of single mothers, but the statistics imply otherwise.
    I say if the quality is pretty much set, we might as well work on the quantity. Heck if single mothers were REALLY rare, there might even be enough charity to go around to have an impact on their success average.

  3. It's not a family without a father. Everything else is just damage control. Patriarchy is the sine qua non of civilization:

  4. False dilemma, sez I.

    I stayed at home when the boys were small. The wife had a more viable long-term corporate career to press. Me, I can do whatever I need to do to make bux. Computers, construction, music, consulting, writing, whatever.

    That's what I taught my young men, and they learned how to create. You don't get that by screwing around with "roles" and who should do what.

    "Production is the solution to the problem of survival" --Ayn Rand

    That's something that females and males both can be good at, without sacrificing what it is to be masculine or what it is to be feminine.

    And to hell with who should do what, based on gender. That's a game for losers.
    Cooperation, respect, and loyalty go a lot farther than rules. If a task is something only one gender is capable of doing--at all--then that's who gets it. So around here the males do the heavy lifting. Dad does dad stuff, and Mom does Mom stuff. But chores are just chores, and roles ...they're for the theater.