|The letter below is published in the current issue of the British weekly, The Spectator (with the World Trade Center on the cover). It is shortened slightly from the version circulated earlier when I submitted it. They also published two other favorable letters on their web site. These are in response to their second cover story on the rape of fathers in two years. The one from June 2000 (along with many other interesting articles, some on gender) can be found on the web site of journalist Melanie Phillips, an outspoken advocate for fathers, who now writes for the Daily Mail: www.melaniephillips.com.|
The Spectator, 7 September 2002, p. 28
Fathers and children
From Dr Stephen Baskerville
Sir: Griffin Stones excellent piece (When your wife kidnaps your child, 24 August) on child-stealing from fathers implies that it is a British problem. In fact, it is rampant throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. Countries with such traditional family morality as Japan and India are experiencing epidemics of maternal child-snatching, which is invariably rewarded by courts.
How American lawyers could be shocked at the actions of British courts is perplexing. In virtually every American jurisdiction, fathers are losing not only their children but their homes, their life savings, future earnings, and freedom through divorces for which they gave neither consent nor grounds. The US attorney-general recently announced mass arrests of fathers. In Canada, special domestic-violence courts remove fathers from their homes, confiscate their property and jail them with no semblance of due process. Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US now have sky-rocketing suicide rates among divorced fathers, as does Britain.
Mr Stone also tends to downplay his plight by attributing it to judicial inertia and defeatism. In fact, it reveals perhaps one of the most dangerous trends in politics today: the use of children as political weapons. It often seems as if family courts, operating in unaccountable secrecy, reward child-stealing because it extends the power and reach of the state and the earnings of its operatives. It allows the state to achieve one of its most coveted and dangerous ambitions: to control the private lives of its citizens. Once the father is eliminated, state officials administer the family and the personal life of every member. Family courts recognize no private sphere of life.
Involuntary divorce is not a phenomenon; it is a regime a marvellously self-perpetuating political machine that allows for the infinite expansion of government power. By removing fathers, the state creates a host of problems for itself to solve the problems now brutally familiar as the products of father absence: child poverty, child abuse, juvenile crime, drug abuse, and much more.
There is nothing baffling about Mr Stones ordeal. It represents a direct assault, ideologically driven and bureaucratically enforced, on the family and the social foundation of civilization itself.
Index to more of Stephen Baskerville's articles
Stephen Baskerville's website
Quoted from the conclusion of the discussion paper:
Growing up with a single parent harms children for three primary
reasons: A disrupted family usually has fewer financial resources to
devote to children's upbringing and education, less time and energy
to nurture and supervise children, and reduced access to community
resources that can supplement and support parents' efforts.
Fortunately, none of these factors are beyond the control of parents
and society. Thus, to the extent that parents and government can
address these risk factors, the effect of father absence on
children's wellbeing could be significantly softened....
Note by Fathers for Life: Although the discussion paper presents a
fairly good analysis of the consequences of father absence, the primary
solution seen by Sara McLanahan for addressing the consequences of
father absence is to bring about more and stronger child support
enforcement. That is in addition to ensuring more secure financial
circumstances (out of tax revenues) for single-mother families.
Not once does the discussion paper mention, let alone critique, the
deplorable drive to systematically destroy the traditional nuclear
family and to eliminate the presence of fathers in children's lives.