The Family Fades as Governments Subsidize Daycares and Nursing Homes
Human life is given meaning and sustenance by various forms of community: the church, the nuclear family, the extended family, fraternal organizations, businesses, etc. But as the state has grown, civil society has shrunk.
The state over the centuries has absorbed an increasing share of the resources, functions, and moral authority of these other institutions. In countries where the state succeeds in finally absorbing competing institutions, the result is totalitarianism.
One striking example of how the state has encroached on the domain of civil society in general and the family in particular is the care of the young and the old. Through its financing of daycares, K-12 schools, and nursing homes (among other options) the state gradually encroaches on what were once integral functions of the family. It inserts itself as a wedge between children, the elderly, and the rest of the family.
By supplanting the family in caring for the young and the old, not only does the state increase the role it plays in society here and now, it also erodes the competency of the family in the long term. By performing these functions in place of the family, the ability of the family to perform its former responsibilities atrophies and withers.
An institution, through long neglect of once essential functions, loses the knowledge and ability to perform these functions, and even the belief that this function belongs to its sphere. Care of the young and elderly gradually become accepted not as the role of the extended family but as one shared between the family and the state. And where the state gains a foothold, it rarely ever voluntarily relinquishes influence, but rather continues to grow.
A Look at The Tentacles
When I think of government-provided daycare, I think of difficult-to-fire DMV employees entrusted with dozens of strangers’ six-month-old babies.
Article from Mises Wire