Interesting Point

A former lawyer (J.D. cum laude, according to her bio), writes in defense of the 'separation of parents and kids is bad' thesis -- but without exception.
Indeed, studies show that maternal separation is a major stressor even in newborn infants. And fifty years of social science evidence teach us that, on average, children separated from one or both biological parents fare worse, across virtually every measurable indicator, than children who have not been separated from their own married parents.

Given how crucial intact families are to human flourishing, it is appalling that a purportedly pro-life and pro-family Trump administration would use any measure of its discretion to rip families apart. But I would also note that many of those loudly championing children at the border take an incompatible position when children are separated from their parents under other circumstances.

Children’s need for their parents in cases of intentional single-parenthood, divorce, surrogacy, and abortion, is no different than the needs of the children at the U.S. border. In these cases, though, the same needs of children to be raised by those who are most likely to fully invest, care for, and protect them — their biological parents — are ignored.

This is not to say, such as in the case of most adoptive parents, that there are not heroic individuals out there who have stepped up to give non-biological children the best life possible under what would otherwise be extremely difficult circumstances. This is also not to say that divorce is never warranted — although modern attitudes about the purposes of marriage and the no-fault system have overwhelmingly been a bust for children.

The 1970s models of thinking that “children are resilient” in the face of divorce has given way: “The myth of the good divorce has not stood up well in the face of sustained social scientific inquiry – especially when one considers the welfare of children exposed to their parents’ divorces,” observes University of Virginia sociologist Bradford Wilcox.
She goes on to more anecdotal examples, which are not to my thinking as strong. But there's an interesting point there, one that echoes a line of thought that Chesterton advanced. Chesterton is so frequently on the side of the contemporary Right that it is easy to think he isn't going to be very challenging for an intellectual on that side of the fence. Yet he is not always so, and this favoring of the family over capitalism is one of the ways in which he is not:
If it be true that Socialism attacks the Family in theory, it is far more certain that Capitalism attacks it in practice...So the factory is destroying the Family in fact; and need depend on no poor mad theorist who dreams of destroying it in fancy.
This is from a piece called "The Superstition of Divorce," written at a time when widespread divorce was more theoretical than actual. The Right has moved on from that ground, for the most part; this one former attorney being a rare exception.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

I was thinking of starting with "Yes, but..." except it's Chesterton, so I will think about it a little first. I will say that...

No, I won't either. I should stick to my resolve to rethink.

douglas said...

I'll say that the "factory" isn't a thing in and of itself of capitalism- Other type of governances have had "factories" as well. 'Factories' are the matter of how we get things done to be a productive society. However humans produce things, we have always produced things.

It may be true that in his time, the more obvious thing taking women away from their families for a good portion of the day was factories, but it wasn't conservatives that pushed women to embrace the idea that they could work and have a family life as in the old days. There's really no question that the philosophy of the left is far more harmful to the family unit than that of the right, even the Chamber of Commerce right.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The most visible expression of the free market in chesterton's day was capitalism, and the most visible expression of capitalism was the factory. I understand his deploring these, especially given his romantising of the rural virtues. His Distributism consisted of giving everyone "40 acres and a cow." That might have solved a lot of poverty in his day - even that, I question - but it doesn't look as if it would do much now. I get the point: give everyone a chance, then they are on their own. Fair enough. Maybe we should have done that. Maybe we should do something like that now.

Yet I don't think Chesterton was thinking it all through to freedom of choice. More factories may be a direct result of the free market, but they are not the only expression of the free market, and I think he would like the other parts better. People chose to leave farms and come work in factories. Perhaps they knew their own lot better than we do.

As for the sociologist acknowledging that the anti-Trump side has its own refusal to admit that their own personal separating children from parents can be harmful, I agree entirely, but predict it will fall on deaf ears. My parents divorced in 1959, when I was 6, and I have had a lifetime of people telling me how well their children are taking the divorce while I seethed. The cost of even a justified divorce is higher than they are willing to admit. Even children who feel relieved to be delivered from abuse or conflict still feel grief.

So, "Yeah, divorce is hard for kids, sure, of course, but TRUMP! CRYING CHILDREN! IT'S AN OUTRAGE!"

Grim said...

I remember a young man I knew growing up who was destroyed by his parent's divorce, and particularly by ending up in his mother's custody. The effect on him was to prove that daddy didn't love him enough to stay, and he never recovered as long as I knew him. His mother, meanwhile, apparently poured out her hate for his father in terms of despising the kind of manhood she thought he represented, which of course his son -- being half his blood -- felt in himself too. As a result his father had abandoned him, and his mother hated half of him, and he didn't know what to do or to feel.

Even young I knew I should feel bad for him, though my heart was hard in those days and I felt more like cutting him off. That probably was instinctive; the sense that a member of the troop or the pack is sickly or weak, and will bring doom on you if they aren't cut out for the good of the whole. As I think back on it, though, I remember his pathetic attempt to express his pain through poetry. The poetry was terrible, and there was no capacity to hide what he meant through metaphor or imagery; and as a result, his pain was bare and awful.

I wonder if he survived. I can't remember his name to look him up and see if he made it or not.