New born babies cry when they are hungry, need their diapers changed, are tired or uncomfortable. All parents understand this and eagerly do whatever they can to provide for the baby’s needs. That is what love means: the needs of the baby are as much, or more, imperative than your own. It is as though your nerves were connected to the baby’s. An objective observer might see babies as being totally selfish. If the mother is exhausted from an arduous day of work, or even sick in bed with pneumonia, that will not keep the baby from crying until his or her needs are met. The baby is unmindful of the needs of others, only its own. What is amazing about loving mothers and fathers is that they will get up out of bed and take care of the baby.
In fact, the central focus of the parents’ lives for years will be the welfare of that baby, child, teenager and even young adult. Food, clothes, medical care, education, transportation, music lessons, sports uniforms, even exorbitant college tuitions will be provided and paid for. Children often do not notice how focused the best efforts of their parents and teachers are upon them. Until that one great day, that forever life changing day, when they become parents. Then truly they leave childhood behind and become adults—the ones providing care, not the ones receiving it. It is not, however, a completely one way street. As old age overtakes the parents, now grandparents, responsibility for the parents’ well-being is slowly transferred to their children. In some cases aged parents are reduced to near-childhood dependence on their children.
Infants, children and aged parents need help, sometimes constant and continuous. It is not unusual to see family members making lifelong sacrifices for those with special needs. The family does what no other organization possibly could. The government is not going to get up in the middle of the night to warm a bottle for the baby. The government is not going to stay up until midnight helping a teenager finalize that procrastinated term paper. The government is not going to reminisce with grandmother about shared memories that are so precious.
There is one quality that every human being shares. Everyone has a family. Everyone has a father and a mother. You cannot have come into existence without them. It is true some fathers are hopelessly missing in their children’s lives—being little more than sperm donors. It is true that some mothers abandon their children physically and/or emotionally. It is true there is a dire need for someone to step in and do their best to provide what failed parents haven’t. There is a role for government in that process and many government workers who provide genuine and sincere help for the needy are to be lauded. But it is a fatal mistake for our society to believe the government can replace the family. That is impossible. Government can attempt to ameliorate the harm done by failed families, but it cannot replace a good family. Strong families eliminate the need for federal handouts.
One current challenge in creating and encouraging successful families is that there are some who believe babyhood should be a life-long condition—that their food, clothes, medical care, education, transportation, cell phones, entertainment . . . should be provided by others. They want to be permitted to continue forever as new-borns—eternal Takers. These eternal infants demand it from the government. It is true that if we live long enough we will all reach a state of dependence. If we have not prepared for it by maintaining family ties and financial preparation, it can be a sad time indeed. The greater problem facing our nation, however, is not those who are forced into dependence—it is those who choose dependence.
There are those actively working to undermine families. Promiscuity and adultery undermines families. In fact, those sins (Yes! that is the right name for it), destroy families. High taxes undermine families by draining financial resources. A culture where you could watch movies and television almost endlessly and never see a happy, well-functioning family modeled undermines families. Instead we idolize those who, far too often, are abysmal examples of those qualities that strengthen families. Those who choose to live off of government handouts—and even to be constantly demanding more—rather than providing for themselves and their families undermine those raising families. As they demand the government provide them with never-ending childhood they drain resources from far more needy citizens. Their demands are often expressed as rights: “I have a right to a smart phone;” I have a right to free contraceptives;” “I have a right to have Uncle Sam provide for me and my children.” These are not rights, they are selfish demands. If you want them, and are not helpless, be an adult and provide them for yourself.
The Takers in a dependent society share another major characteristic with babies. They have no thought for the well-being of the ones providing the care—only that it be provided. Takers in America focus solely on their needs and ignore or dismiss the fiscal disaster facing the nation that is providing that care. You will see it in all of the political ads aimed at winning their votes—pictures of the needy— sometimes self-induced needy—demanding that the government provide still more care. The fact that we are trillions of dollars in debt, and must borrow 40% of what we spend to provide care for them, barely enters their consciousness. Their focus is on crying in the night, even having a tantrum, if their warm milk is not forthcoming.
One major difference between loving parental care and government care is that even at the DNA level parents know they must raise their children to be independent. They know, again at the DNA level, that they will not be around to care for the next generation and the one after that, so the only workable strategy is to raise your children to be independent adults capable of caring for themselves and their own children. That is the opposite goal and approach of those who seek to make people dependent upon the government—for food stamps, for medical care, for housing, for everything that normal parents provide for themselves and their children. It is essential to Democrats seeking re-election that the number of those in child-like dependence upon the government be as large as possible, because—well aware of their dependence—they will vote for the Democrats who provide the teat of federal welfare from which they have been nursing for so long.
The real political and cultural battle now is over whether the government will encourage well-functioning families—that can provide the best help for infants and aged parents—or push the family aside with government programs that are poor substitutes, sometimes dysfunctional substitutes, for what families provide almost automatically. Unfortunately as government programs regulate and drain resources from normal families to pay for government programs that attempt to replace them, they actually cripple what is best in our culture. The current election is about preserving the most basic unit of society—the family. Every candidate should be asked: “How will your platform aid families to prosper?” not “How will your platform help people remain in eternal dependence on the government?” The gulf between these two ideologies is vast. Voters will have to decide—are they ready to be adults or is never ending childhood too attractive to give up?