Commentary: An America First Family Policy

by Ned Ryun


A startling new study by the Pew Research Center reveals a staggering statistic. The United States is No. 1 globally . . . but in a shameful category. Of the 130 nations surveyed America, by more than a factor of three, had the greatest number of fatherless homes: “The U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households. Almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults (23%), more than three times the share of children around the world who do so (7%).”

When you consider America’s “margin of success” on fatherless homes, it’s almost as though there’s been a systematic plan to—in the words of Black Lives Matter—destroy the Western nuclear family, and in so doing destroy American society. It’s as if organizations, elected officials, and “thought leaders” spent the past 70 years doing everything in their power to remove fathers as authority figures in the home and replace them with the state: destroy the nuclear family, reshape society.

At its root, a fatherless nation is a rudderless nation, adrift and doomed to decline. A strong family with an authority figure is the foundation of society and is inextricably tied to our nation’s founding principle of self-governance. Our self-governing republic needs strong families raising people to govern themselves, but the founders intended far more: They intended every individual to govern himself or herself because if people self-govern as individuals it leads to greater freedom for the nation.

A father in the home is an extension of this core principle on several fronts. First, strong fathers are intended to bring order to a family unit, including “laying down the law” and inculcating children, especially boys, with behavioral standards and expectations. To be completely honest, especially with boys, this is something only the father can do.

Yet what happens to society when you remove the principle of self-governance, as well as one of the most important societal guardrails for self-governing (a father in the home)? Chaos. Fatherless homes lead to family chaos: Children in fatherless homes are four times more likely to live in poverty and are at greater risk for drug and alcohol abuse. About seven out of 10 kids in juvenile detention come from fatherless homes. In fact, the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency reports that the most reliable indicator of violent crime in a community is the proportion of fatherless families. Which leads to the next point: It should be no surprise that 90 percent of school shooters come from fatherless homes.

But here’s the rub in all of this: Basic human nature desires peace and order. If individuals and families can’t govern themselves, human nature demands peace and stability and it requires more of the state to insert itself into the chaos to bring some semblance of order. Human beings will in fact be willing to sacrifice freedoms in the name of order, which of course sets a society on the path to authoritarianism. In short, you will either govern yourself or you will be governed.

There are of course ways to address this chaos: we need a society and a government that respects human life, respects and acknowledges the primacy of marriage between a man and a woman, and has in place policies and an economy that helps the traditional family unit succeed.

As Arizona Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters has pointed out, this requires an economy that allows fathers to work a full-time job and for the mother to stay at home full-time. I always argue that conservatives never know what to do with political power. How about we have national policies that encourage strong families and greater birthrates, including tax breaks and incentives and other benefits?

We should consider what Hungary has put in place for the strengthening of families: it is investing over five percent of its GDP into family policy because it realizes the benefits of a healthy family for its society and its survival. If you look at the above statistics and how detrimental and costly to society fatherless homes are, you can argue, based on the statistics, that an investment like that saves you money in the long run.

It would be nice if instead of pouring tens of billions of dollars into other countries or hiring 87,000 new, armed IRS agents to kick down the doors of the American middle class, we should look at funding and strengthening the family unit. Of course, as long as the freakish and un-American Left controls the levers of power, there will continue to be an intentional disintegration of the family unit.

But for the sake of the country and our society, when America First takes power back in this country, it should not hesitate to roll out a plan very similar to Hungary’s: It might be one of the best investments this country would ever make.

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Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.






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