The Decline of the Human Family
How the road to self fulfillment led us to the perfect storm
Of all of the causes we have in the world today, many of which particularly capture the time and space of the media and academia, it is singularly peculiar that the disintegration of an institution as important as the human family should want for attention. Perhaps it is because the family is made up of individual people, and we have become a society obsessed with a focus on the self. Be that as it may, we have ignored this institution to our great detriment. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights got it right when it declared that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society”. Implicit in this inclusion in an international founding document declaring universal human rights, is the recognition that stable society’s very survival rests on the strength of this fundamental group unit.
The years have not been kind to this most important institution – the family, particularly the last four decades. Worldwide, families have broken down at a historically unprecedented pace. There are certainly records of how now-extinct societies have experienced similar declines before their demise, but what we now face is unique in that it has a global spread. This has ominous portent.
The family’s importance to basic social structures has perhaps been more explored and discussed than its importance to other aspects of our world, and certainly deserves continued study. What is probably less obvious, and therefore less examined, is the family’s impact on such things as the rule of law, democratic structures, societal and even technological advancement, education, successful commerce and economic structures. Society depends on these in order to remain stable and the family’s impact on them is profound.
When the great social experiments of the 1960’s were launched, and when concern over a “population bomb” loomed large, we did not have the social science and economic studies we have available to us today. So the world embarked unknowingly on a self-destructive course.
Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family seeks to reawaken society to the importance of the stable, intact family, and engender a discussion and greater focus in the media, in academia, in the halls of policy makers, in religious circles, in the committees of civil society and in households around the world. Our hope is that all of these circles will bring to bear on the problems facing the family the tremendous contributions each can uniquely make. In this way, we hope to avert the storm that is now most surely coming on.