Raising children as a married couple in total isolation is not “family”, it’s just “atomic household unit of economic production”.
A father and mother raising children in a private, independent household separate from either’s extended family and/or parish is an invention of the industrial age. It has become normalized to the point of being considered the only real family among conservatives, who fail history 4eva on this particular front.
There are a number of folks in the far end of right-conservative land who talk a great deal about how such and such a ‘european’ ethnic group has ‘always’ had nuclear families, but this is just a sign of how poorly educated they are about their own ethnic histories.
The pioneer family model wouldn’t exist without a lot of technology. In some very real ways, the Ingalls/Wilder pioneer family is about as modern as families now in terms of sheer social isolation and dependence on the nuclear family for emotional needs to the point of neurosis.
The shift from clan to family to “extended” vs. “nuclear” family is just tracing the steps of technology and modernity and insane amounts of wealth in tearing us all away from the real forms of kin and kith.
Also, defining family in terms of the nuclear structure saves a lot of people the trouble of being held to account for their obligations and responsibilities to their familias/clan/bondsmen/etc. Webs of intersecting authority, hierarchy, devotion, obligation and love. Those are lost today and to get them back for the supermajority would require a lot of people to stop egotripping. WOE.
Anyway that’s all I have to say about this right now.
Conservatives could employ the marginal instead of arguing that the marginal should magically make themselves functional in specific ways (the bootstraps argument).
There are a variety of ways to do this, as it is possible to employ many of the marginal *who want to work*. This is not that hard to determine.
By marginal I mean people like ex-criminals, ex-drug addicts, and so forth. A lot of these people can still do work and want to, but it is very hard for them to find work. Sometimes privately funded job provision is the way to grant people dignity and a chance to be responsible for their lives. It is a perfectly valid form of charity.
One of the most saddening examples of the atomization that marks conservative aping of what they believe to be traditional living is the idea that if your husband helps out to any significant degree, you should just fall over yourself in abject relief and never consider any other members of your larger community for help/support.
So women who are being totally failed by their neighbors, church members, friends and relatives ignore this in favor of declaring that asking for help beyond ‘husband does lots more housework and childcare’ means you’re denigrating your husband and failing Christian wiving 4eva.
This was brought to you by a very upsetting series of posts by a conservative bloggess where she disregarded medical advice for bedrest as stupid because her husband couldn’t take an infinite number of days off work, because obviously nobody else could possibly help out a heavily pregnant woman with a bunch of kids under age 8.
The idea that your husband should be your sisterwife and also work the full time job that pays for everything is in fact destroying the ability of families to live normal lives. This isn’t to say that men can’t change a diaper, it’s to say that husbands and wives aren’t an island, or shouldn’t be.
It totally is. The idea that cooking daily is some kind of harkening back to a properly traditional time is itself fairly modern and part of the ongoing conflict between male and female spheres of power. It’s also a sign of how far removed modern conservatives (and everyone else who promotes daily and often fancy/gourmet cooking) are from the normal life of living in a smallish community where specialization and division of labor were taken seriously *and that included cooking*.
The sandwich lady is still around, and she was around in the early 20th century too. Also the 19th. Or the food truck guy. Whichever, you can go all the way back to fairy tales and folk tales (and, like, historical documentation) and find out that *gasp* the idea that women cook at home and men cook professionally is not consistent with historical reality. Neither is the idea that individual women cooked all the meals for their individual families.
Cooking has historically been a specialty task, with elements of group work. And it wasn’t sex-segregated as far as whether it was professional or home cooking. Women were sometimes professionals and men sometimes did the home cooking. The divisions were more fluid than is socially acceptable now. And for all the judging among far too many conservatives of women who don’t cook purely from (fake) “scratch”, it’s also been the norm in history to streamline and utilize convenience and quick foods when possible. The equivalent of McDonald’s has a long and storied history dating back to the Roman era that I can immediately think of offhand.
This doesn’t mean sitting down to eat delicious food with your family is untraditional, it just means there’s a difference between the various ways that people traditionally dealt with the big job of cooking historically and an imaginary “traditional” family where Mom makes three or four meals a day every single day by herself from completely fresh ingredients and also mysteriously manages the other tasks of the home, plus set up and clean up of each meal. In reality, this type of cooking precludes even trying to do much else around the house. Which is why it sure ain’t traditional or a great idea to advocate as some kind of norm (which I am sad to say I have seen among conservative SAHMs).
And not wanting to cook and finding someone else to prepare your meals is TOTALLY TRADITIONAL AND NORMAL, even among historical SAHMs (although they did tend to assist working mothers more often for obvious reasons).
Those implications are that it’s not about your social life and only hanging out with people you think are groovy. It’s about the reality that if you want institutions to persist when unusually charismatic/high energy people are not running them, you have to work with and spend social time with people you would not otherwise be inclined to hang out with.
Interestingly, for all the conservative rhetoric about real community, they are just as interested in only being around people who are “good fits” as everyone else.
Affinity as the primary socialization mechanism is a sign of a degenerated culture.
Pre-60s housewives were generally NOT expected to cough up fresh bread daily, or gourmet meals three times a day. They were also not expected to keep a very large home spotless whilst mincing about in heels and pearls. The community standards for what a housewife was supposed to do were actually pretty minimal and attainable for even relatively brokedown women.
A simple (truly simple) dish of meat/eggs/fish, a starch and one or two spices was considered completely decent and good enough. Needless to say, this is no longer true, particularly among conservative SAHMs, who tend to be most driven towards expectation inflation in the matters of domesticity for various reasons I’ve either already covered or will the next time I read through old posts to note allusions I haven’t written up yet.
One of the reasons Mormons are still functionally conservative in many respects is that they remember that you can’t keep up appearances if the appearances are very complex and detailed. People sometimes make cracks about how Mom wouldn’t let them mess up the ‘parlor for company’, but this dramatically slashed the ongoing cleaning burden and made for an attainable cross-class and cross-income and cross-racial set of housewiving standards that average to slightly dim women could manage with a little elbow grease.
Conservatives, if they want normal life restored, have to remember that broad-based community standards must consider all God’s children and be minimal without being token. It can be a fine line to navigate, but we have so much tradition from so many of the cultures that infuse American identity to draw upon in shaping those simple, reachable goals.
But it can be hard when Walter Mitty syndrome is rampant.
H/T to Cane Caldo, who has been discussing this topic in a few of his most recent posts as of this writing.
Conservatives tend to be cowardly when it comes to helping each other out. They hear the sneers of “white men’s club” and “old boy’s club” and “glass ceiling” from more liberal-leaning media (and sometimes even friends and family) and allow themselves to be pressured out of helping and supporting each other in times of need.
This is not always true, just as it is not always so true that liberals protect their own (as post-1970s black radical liberals found out to their great and lasting bitterness), but in broad general terms, liberals are much more likely to provide couches for years if necessary, jobs if they have them and plenty of food to eat when one of their own falls upon hard times for saying something impolitic.
This is something that modern conservatives have forgotten in aggregate. Using fake names to post crimethinky things on the internet isn’t really the problem, it’s the idea that nobody has your back among real people you live and fellowship with, much less the affinity groups you stumble into online. It is not loving, it is strange.
Having said that, however, offering aid and shelter to each other should come in defense of those who speak of normal life as normal and of real things as Real, not liars, dissemblers and hustlers. This is actually less strict than the Danegeld liberals levy for succoring their wolves among their sheep. We can do better. We can offer aid and shelter to each other for speaking true things, real things, honest things, and cast out those who are just wearing the skin but have wolves’ claws.
There is a difference between discernment before bringing forth the casseroles and couch-surfing and straight out cowardice. I seem to recall a very Good Book that explains how we can tell the difference….