Posts Tagged ‘Family Values’

Pro-family vs. anti-family conservatives

October 18, 2018

The conservative blogger Rod Dreher put up an interesting post this morning quoting an evangelical Christian man who says he and his wife can’t afford to have children because of corporate business practices and neoliberal economic policies supported by both Republicans and Democrats.

He and his wife are both employed in STEM fields and earn six-figure incomes, but their employers constantly remind them that they can be replaced at any time by immigrants from India willing to work at one-third their salaries.  Losing a job would mean losing health insurance, which might mean bankruptcy.

A cousin actually went bankrupt because his newborn had a rare disease, and his insurance company decided that the medical staff on duty that day were not in its network, even though the hospital itself was in-network.  Then there is the cost of education, which can bankrupt even an affluent family.

The most interesting part was his contrast of European and American conservatives.

Europe’s conservatives actually are pro-family there and support pro-natalist policies. The US media as usual is embarrassingly confused about populists like Matteo Salvini, Victor Orban, the AfD in Germany, the NF in France, Vox in Spain, the Sweden Democrats and the conservatives in Denmark, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands.

These aren’t racists like the media claims, in fact quite the opposite, they are not the ones calling for invasion of foreign countries, but rather for the preservation of their own native European Christian cultures, Christian values and distinctive identities within their ancient homelands. And above all for supporting the family unit. [snip].

Europe’s populist conservatives all favor universal healthcare, low-cost childcare, free or low-cost tuition for colleges, 6 weeks of vacation (great for bonding with the family) and protection of the local labor market and wages. When I worked in Europe all Americans and other foreigners (including many tech workers from India) were paid the same or higher wages than locals, and if any employer tried to undermine the local labor market and wages, he’d be greeted with a prison term.

Source: Rod Dreher | The American Conservative

If somebody like that doesn’t think he can afford to live what used to be considered a normal life, what about the rest of us?

I’m reminded of Chris Arnade and his contrast of the “front-row kids” and “back-row kids”—the ones who get ahead because they value education, adaptability and individual success most, and the ones who are left behind because they value family, tradition and community more.

This is a good example of the coming together of the cultural conservative critique and economic radical critique of our current political economy.


Muslim family befriends elderly Jewish lady

June 4, 2015

Jewish lady Muslim neighborsIMG_8261

My e-mail pen pal Jack C sent me a link to an article from The Independent in Britain about how a Pakistani immigrant family befriended an elderly Jewish lady who was in failing health and living alone.

I don’t think that stories like that are unusual, although they are not as well known as stories of conflict.

I think neighborliness and kindness are common among most people who follow a traditional way of life, whatever their nationality or religion, including the conservative and evangelical Protestant Christians whom some of my secular liberal friends find so scary.

Probably the Pakistani family thought it was unusual and tragic for an elderly person to be living alone and not with family and loved ones.  I don’t think that happens much in Pakistan, and there was a time when it didn’t happen much in the USA or the UK.

This article reminded me of my current reading of the works of Jurgen Habermas, a German philosopher who distinguishes between what he calls the Lifeworld and the Systemworld.

The Lifeworld is the realm in which people relate to each other as individuals, like the people described in The Independent article.  The Systemworld consists of two realms, the realm of government and bureaucracy in which compliance with rules and authority overrides everything else, and the realm of commerce and markets, in which everything is measured in terms of monetary costs and benefits.

As Habermas noted, the Lifeworld is not all good.  People can be cruel and malicious on the individual level.  And the Systemworld is not all bad.  It makes possible a more orderly and prosperous world than would otherwise exist.

But in 20th and 21st century Europe and America, the Systemworld is crowding out the Lifeworld.  We do too many things—have to do too many things—to comply with an impersonal bureaucracy or an impersonal economic system.  We need to push the Lifeworld into the Systemworld, and not let the Systemworld colonize the Lifeworld.


A story about an elderly Jewish lady and her Muslim Neighbors who cared by Helen Stone for The Independent.  (Hat tip to Jack).