When I was young and heard politicians extol the virtues of “family values” and blame a decline in them on moral atrophy, I wondered how they couldn’t see that it was their economic policies, with deleterious effects on the social safety net and job security, that most undermined these “values”. Then I turned 3, and saw how naïve I had been. They never cared about those values. They just wanted an explanation of social disintegration that exempted from blame their class-interested attacks on the living conditions of general populations the world over.
If these politicians really thought “family values” were a good thing, they would want to ensure that young people could gain access to affordable housing and a steady income. It doesn’t take moral atrophy for a person to resist parenthood in the absence of these assurances. Resisting parenthood is arguably the responsible course to take when there can be no confidence for many would-be parents that they will have an income a year, let alone ten years, down the track.
If these politicians thought “family values” were worth preserving, they would seek to create a future in which the would-be children of today had the prospect of a free, prosperous and fulfilling life. Instead, they concoct lies and fairy tales about currency sovereigns running out of money in an effort to deny future generations the life they could easily have if only, today, we set about developing the productive capacity and social infrastructure to provide abundance for tomorrow.
If these politicians cared about “family values”, they would stop pushing for war and promote peace, dramatically cut back the size of the military, and employ the freed up real resources and technological know-how in more humane and socially beneficial ways. What morally responsible person would want to bring a child into a world of military aggression, global inequality, and extreme poverty for many? To the extent people do so, it is in the hope that these things will soon be changed for the better.
If politicians were serious about “family values”, environmental sustainability would be integral to every economic policy decision they made, and there would still be every reason to bring new life into today’s world. Adequate health care would be available to all. Education would be a high priority and accessible to all. Otherwise, many young people will think twice before inflicting this misery on another generation, and rightly so.
Personally, I am not big on “family values” unless we are talking about an extended global family in which everyone and everything is afforded the opportunity to live life to the fullest, free from the effects of economic barbarism and the deliberate butchering of life. But if politicians at least pursued policies conducive to their own professed narrow, small-minded, provincial morality, it would be a significant improvement on current efforts.
As for the rest of us, are we really going to stand by and allow everything to be botched up big time? We can make big changes almost overnight by formulating concrete demands and sticking to them until they are met. An end to poverty and inequality? Easy. We could have a job and/or income guarantee immediately. Free housing for all? Easy. There is a surplus of housing, poorly distributed. Free health care, education, public transport? Easy, easy, easy. An end to private debt? Easy, if we want it and insist on it. And much more can be easily within our grasp if enough of us wake up and make it happen.