Before it’s too late, Australians must face up to the intensity of the current attack on the family. For example, we need look no further than ‘our’ ABC for an example. In the month of May, ABC has presented to the Australian public two philosophers and their ideas. Q&A hosted and promoted controversial Australian philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer, who suggests a post-birth assessment period for new parents, during which time they should be legally allowed to kill disabled offspring.
If that is not disturbing enough, ABC also presented to us another philosopher, this time on Radio national – Adam Swift. Perhaps the most worrying concept promoted on ABC national (there were many) from Mr Swift was in regard to what he argues is a ‘magnitude of damage caused by the family unit’. In the light of this ‘damage’, he concedes we may end up being left with only one option: abolish family – “One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.”
How very Plato-esque of him! But how very un-Australian. This is propaganda at its worst. Ask any average Australian on the street what is the most important thing in their life and chances are the first word out of their mouth will be ‘family’. This is the ‘norm’. In no way do I want to downplay the seriousness of domestic violence or the tragedy of broken families, but if we are talking about ‘common good’, then stable families are what we should be working towards.
Adam Swift believes that the importance people place on their biological origins is largely a social and cultural construct. He says that nothing in his theory assumes two parents: “there might be two, there might be three, and there might be four”.
Adam Swift wants equality and he preaches the dangerous message that the family unit is the true cause of growing inequality in society. To the extent that he says parents should consider the inequity of the situation if they read their children bedtime stories – in doing so they are actually unfairly disadvantaging their children over other children.
Australia is still an amazing land of opportunity; the lucky country. It’s a place where parents are still encouraged to give their children every possible advantage to grow up to contribute to the well-being of the common good of society. We owe much to our Judeo-Christian heritage which has traditionally placed a strong focus on the nuclear family being a foundational pillar of society.
When I was growing up, the ABC was informative and educational. It is still educational, but what exactly are they teaching? And what are we learning from it? It matters.
You can read ABC’s report on the program here : http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/new-family-values/6437058