Family, society and the State

As a staunch anti-communist (through bitter experience), with the highest security classification available to a federal official in Australia, and as an anti-colonial (from experience again), I do not want the State to tell me how to live my life. I do not also want my politicians and their bureaucrats to intrude their religious prejudices into my freedom. My antecedents did not put up with the shenanigans (antics) of those they referred to as ‘upstarts,’ the British colonial administration, for me to have my life as a free citizen, in an allegedly free country, constrained by those with a sectarian religious bias. And there is plenty of that in public policy, where it shouldn’t be.

Yet, while some of Australia’s key social policies are influenced by the values emanating from Rome, Australian society is being stressed by the breakdown of family; by the re-definition of family; by the expanding dependence on the State (that is, on hard-working taxpayers) by proliferating single-parent families; and by very, very young children (even infants) brought up in institutional child care, thus deprived of the love and guidance that is available only from a mother at that early stage. While a father or a full-time nanny is a reasonable substitute, the issue is simple: in whose body did that baby develop? And do not most mothers yearn to cuddle and caress their babies and little children? This is beautifully brought out in my low-employment district where mothers are seen with their little ones in public.

But then, was not institutional upbringing the norm in communist-controlled nations? There, it was the productivity of the State; here, the wants of adults prevail. In Australia, in spite of the whingers, there is financial security. However, expectations (more likely, demands) over-ride reality; the reality which was experienced by their own parents and their antecedents, and shared with the rest of the world.

‘There is no such thing as society’ is an utterance attributed to Mrs. Thatcher of the UK. Will someone now intone that there is no such thing as family? Read Francis Fukuyama about the deterioration of family in the USA. Since Australia is a reliable follower – from wars, to food, to accents, to foreign policies – why not societal behaviour?