Andrew Fulford Civic Polity Nota Bene

Peter Leithart On Cultural Conservatism

Dr. Leithart has a piece up at First Things echoing thoughts TCI has been expressing frequently as of late:

Raising such questions, and invoking Berry, presents a spectrum of issues that many cultural conservatives prefer to dodge. The most penetrating conservative analysts of family life, such as Allan Carlson, have always recognized the cultural contradictions of capitalism and of technological society. They have always recognized the costs (as well as the gains) of separating work and home; of geographic, vocational, and social mobility; of the indisputable wealth-generating power of capitalism. On the ground, though, conservatives look the other way when told that our economic system or our technological progress might inhibit the formation of what Berry describes as an economy that “exists for the protection of gifts, beginning with the ‘giving in marriage.’”

Nuclear families as we know them today are the product of the same forces that undermined the communal support system on which nuclear families depend. Without that support system, the nuclear family is at best a thin reed, at worst a cause of yet more fragmentation. So long as cultural conservatives avoid addressing these wider forces, we will be able to mount nothing more than a rear-guard reaction. So long as we stay in our ambulances, we’ll continue to see an alarming number of industrial accidents. God willing, we’ll heal some, but it’s high time we take a look at the factory to find out what’s happening inside.