We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
...more ominous is the condition of the family. The most fundamental component of civil society, it has also become the most vulnerable. Civil society is often identified (thanks largely to Tocqueville) with “voluntary associations.” But the traditional family is not, or at least did not used to be, a voluntary association. Indeed, it is important precisely because it is not voluntary, performing the natural, elemental, even biological functions of bearing and rearing children. Today, as a result of divorce, remarriage, cohabitation, single-parent families, and single-sex parenting, the family has become, in a sense, voluntarized. We are sometimes assured that these “alternative lifestyles” are merely variations on the old, serving the same purposes as the “nuclear” or “bourgeois” family. In fact, these families—“broken families,” like “broken windows”—are often literally “dysfunctional,” incapable of performing the natural functions that define the family.
Civil society has been described as an “immune system against cultural disease.” But much of it has been infected by the same virus that produces the disease—a loss of moral integrity and purpose. What is required, then, is not only the revitalization of civil society but its reform and remoralization—the reform of those institutions that parody government agencies, and the remoralization of those that have lost their moral focus.
There seems to be a conjunction/confusion about the difference between "moral" and "ethical." Moral is what everybody does that is accepted as good. Ethical is held to a higher standard with a more black/white (can we even say that anymore?) differentiation of right versus wrong. Religious discussions accept "ethical" as "in accordance with God."
Even Merriam Webster tends to equate the terms, though in their discussion of synonyms they show the different flavor of the words:
moral, ethical, virtuous, righteous, noble mean conforming to a standard of what is right and good.
moral implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong .
ethical may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, fairness, or equity .
The bottom line is that behavior can be moral (as in Lord of the Flies) without being ethical. Congress critters and other politicians may focus group and poll test to be in moral alignment with the culture, but they are often well away from the Tocqueville/Civil Society definition of ethical behavior.
A deeper and more disturbing question is whether a political leader with principals of ethical behavior could succeed at all in the current culture of moral equivalency.
Needless to say, I'm not in agreement with Gertrude Himmelfarb. "Families" can be very strong, even if they are deliberately entered into by an assemblage of members who are not related by blood. Military members who belong to a unit and have served under fire, often remain "brothers by choice," and they can be faithful and devoted. There are other "deliberate families" who have chosen to be brothers, and sisters, in a close relationship that often lasts over many years. Survivors of concentration camps have close relationships with other victims who have survived. I've known some. Then there are those folks like myself, who have no blood descendants. Knowing that Mother Nature and the good Lord had not supplied me with my own kids, about twenty years ago, I began to informally adopt some "children" of my own. I have at least 12 right now who consider themselves to be my surrogate kids, and who gift me every week with the pleasures of communication and the chance to give affection and advice.
It just proves that you can change your own life, if you think outside the box.
Gertrude may not agree with me. [She sounds very tidy minded.] But I'm very happy about it.
Entering into family obligations must be voluntary. I doubt Ms. Himmelfarb can come up with a good alternative. I do agree with her that, once you have taken on an obligation to a dependent being, sticking with no longer is a voluntary matter.
So I'm on board with her about the destructive qualities of things like divorce, but not about the formation of alternative households.
What's hateful is 'critical theory'. Mom and apple pie in critical theory is a woman who gave birth to you because she wanted a baby, not that she wanted you, and the apple pie is just her trying to increase her sphere of influence. It's okay to hate sin, it's probably a sin to NOT hate sin, and the sin we need to hate is 'critical theory'. AKA, the ugly way of looking at things. It's always there, with a sneer and a smirk and a 'knowing look' --which is really a 'no'ing look.
When they call you a 'hater', you could reply "So?"