My father was the finest person that I ever knew. He was the only individual I ever met whose family had been actually tortured by the Ku Klux Klan. Dad had more bad luck in his life than most people have in a dozen lives. Yet he never lied to me, even once, and he never deliberately hurt anyone. When he could have stayed home in a safe, cushy civilian job, dad joined the military specifically because he wanted to fight Hitler. People, years after his death, would tell me how smart he was, how wise he was, how noble he was.
My wife's father was the finest person she ever knew. His youth was spent as an abused slave laborer in Hitler's Hell. Tortured by the SS, never knowing which day would be his last, he nevertheless spent much of his six years in the ghastly regions of the Holocaust saving lives. Every living relative he had was murdered by the Nazis. Yet he spent the last sixty years of his life married to a woman he loved, working hard for many years, and then overseeing a New York park which had been overrun with gangs and drugs so that families could have a happy and safe place so conspicuous by its absence in his own life.
Fathers matter. Often, fathers make all the difference in the lives of children. Ask Tim Russert or Rush Limbaugh or Martin Luther King Jr or Pope John Paul II or Jeff Jacoby. But don't just ask sons about fathers: Ask daughters or my wife or Ann Coulter. Mothers have a wonderful, sweet, practical, and vital role in the lives of children, but fathers often have a profoundly inspiring and ennobling role in the lives of children groping toward adulthood.
It is politically incorrect to think this way because we have confused equality of opportunity (which all decent people support) with equivalence of attributes (which is cartoon nonsense.) Men and women, of course, are very different. Their bodies are different. Those differences are reflected in separated societies from the Inca to the Mongol and from the Zulu to the Nordic. Sexual roles, naturally developed, are not the same in each culture, but the differences always manifest themselves in the same directions. Anyone who has worked on a farm knows how very different male and females animals behave. Because these differences sometimes favor men, feminists have persuaded themselves that they and all women are victims of oppression.
Fathers, of course, become expendable in this dreary dystopian reality. Impolitic facts are more often than not simply truth. Children need fathers or they lives are very limited. There is an argument, which I will not make but simply suggest, that because so much of our world is soft, cozy, warm, easy, and mild, children actually need fathers more than they need mothers. Let us just say that children need both.
It is a sad, real fact that the principle character flaw in both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton is that both men were fatherless boys who never grew up. In this, I do not blame them but pity them. Barry and Bill had no choice in the matter, but it has affected the whole course of their adult lives. This brings up an unpleasant malady of modern life: the more people who lack something valuable in their lives, the more readily these people accept theories that they have really lost nothing. So, as more children grow up without fathers, more adolescents come to believe that their life without a father did not hurt them at all. The more people grow up without real faith in God, the more people pine to believe that God is dead or, at least, irrelevant. The more couples divorce and remarry, the more men and women yearn to believe that a happy marriage is only ancillary to a good life. The more people "learn" from videos and television, the more books and text seems a waste of time.
We - all of us - at some level want to believe that those crucial elements of our lives are not really crucial at all, and so blithely swallow any pop psychology which supports a portrait of our life as fulfilled, even when it lacks something critical. There is an argument that homo sapiens has risen to the heights that he has because infants of our species began to grow up with the models of a father and of a mother. The earliest strands of our systems of belief, the Torah for example, has indispensable roles for Abraham and for Sara. The story of Genesis is not a story without fathers.
As the percentage of our population growing up without fathers in the home grows, the prospect of anything in our lives improving will continue to decline. No armies of teachers, therapists, social welfare workers, or even sports coaches can replace a good father. Even a good mother cannot replace a good father (and vice versa.) In a society in which every virtue is described as "diversity," how odd that the only types of vitamins that some people think we don't need in our diet come in the paternal vitamin packet. They are wrong - terribly, sadly, wickedly wrong.
Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and his recently published book, The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.