The Family: A Foundation for Moderate Social Individualism
by Lauren K. Hall
Lauren K. Hall argues that the family tends to moderate otherwise radical political theories. Moderate theories, however, fare much better. So while Marxists dreamed of a day when society would collectivize the traditional responsibilities of the family, in practice that day never quite arrived. On the other side of the political compass, Ayn Rand’s Objectivism seems to stumble when faced with questions of the family: “it is no accident,” writes Hall, “that John Galt is an orphan.”
Moderate social theorists fare much better, Hall argues. Thus Adam Smith situated the family within the comparatively narrow sphere of our natural capacity to care; for him, our ties to our families exerted a gradual sympathetic effect that could encompass larger and larger communities over time, while moderating our radical political projects and attitudes. Edmund Burke made the family the archetype of a trans-generational social compact, one that binds the living to the dead and also to those yet to be born. As a result, the family acts as a check upon radical impulses from many different quarters.
Hayek, the Family, and Social Individualism
by Steven Horwitz
Steven Horwitz accepts Lauren Hall’s paradigm that the family inculcates moderate individualism. He goes on to argue that such individualism is highly congruent to F. A. Hayek’s social theory. Families are equipped with local knowledge and know-how that may not easily be articulated, but that is also not easily replaced. The aim of much of this knowledge is to produce new adult individuals - a daunting task, but one that somehow human societies have accomplished again and again. Although Hayek was not a theorist of the family, applying his insights about the role of knowledge in society can help to explain just how this work gets done.
Moderation in Pursuit of Extremism is no Virtue
by Scott Yenor
Scott Yenor argues that the family is grounded on a natural fact, namely that men and women must unite to produce offspring. In turn, these offspring are helpless for a long time after birth, and without the family they will not be well cared for. Modernity errs when it treats these facts as problems to be overcome. Lauren Hall’s politics of moderation doesn’t offer enough resistance to the dangerous changes now taking place around us. The modern left’s assault on the family does not call for a moderate response; this assault represents all that is “ugly, immoderate, or blind” about modernity, and as a result, we must rethink even modernity’s most fundamental principles.
At War with the Patriarchy
by Jason Kuznicki
Jason Kuznicki argues that family has not always played a moderating role in political theory. At times, it has been invoked as a support for despotism and even for slavery. Modern individualism may have its dangers, but traditional collectivism, and particularly patriarchy, were certainly worse. As a result, he questions whether family should have a place in political theory at all. He also asks: If, in the modern era, family moderates our politics, then what moderated our families?
- Responses to Kuznicki and Yenor: Patriarchy and Other Family Forms by Lauren K. Hall
- The Demands of Prudence and Moderation by Scott Yenor
- There’s No Going Back from the Moderate Family by Steven Horwitz
- Unraveling the Mystery by Scott Yenor
- Responses on Procreation and Same-Sex Marriage by Lauren K. Hall
- My Rose-Colored Glasses by Steven Horwitz
- Is the Family Merely Functional? by Jason Kuznicki
- No Substitutes for the Family by Lauren K. Hall
- Parental Rights and Public Policy by Steven Horwitz
- A Practical Approach to Family Policy by Lauren K. Hall
- Humanity Isn’t Functional. And It Might Be Lost. by Scott Yenor
Conversation to follow through the end of the month.