Thursday, August 24, 2006

conservative paranoia

Miranda Devine has made some preposterous arguments in her time, but her column last Sunday stands out as particularly stupid. She manages to turn public reaction in the JonBenet Ramsey case into a massive liberal conspiracy:

"There is a readiness, which has emerged in recent decades, to believe the worst of a seemingly model nuclear family and a desire to ferret out dark secrets. It is part of a move to undermine the concept of the nuclear family as the basis of social stability, and to strip it of its relative superiority as a vehicle for bringing up children and keeping them safe."

This is despite her earlier acknowledgment that,
"It was the fact that her parents had displayed her so obscenely like a mini-adult that first made them suspects."

But even if Devine is right and ordinary people's natural unease at the exploitation of a child is actually a secret left-wing push to kill off the nuclear family, it's interesting to note that this is despite ten years of conservative government in this country. So Devine reckons the public is dangerously liberal? Does that tell her something about how out-of-touch conservatives are from mainstream values?
But let's think about Devine's statement some more. So the "public", brainwashed by evil leftwing media of course, is against the concept of the nuclear family. In a country with rising marriage and fertility rates, does that ring true?
I wonder what Devine even means by "nuclear family". The patriarchal family structure with father as breadwinner and mother as housewife? (Then it must be feminists encouraging the public to kill off the nuclear family!) Or is she against blended or sole parent families? Or is she fearful of homosexual family units? That's the funny thing: even gays want to be nuclear.
Given that the majority of people are heterosexual and have a biological imperative to form unions and bear children, whether such unions are formalised by law in marriage or not, I don't see the nuclear family disappearing anytime soon. All I see is a conservative writer panicking because she senses that ordinary people have far more tolerant attitudes (in relation to the concept of 'family') than she would hope. And sorry, Miranda, but intelligent people don't regard the Ramseys as a model of great parenting. The public's issue with the Ramseys was their culpability in allowing the sexualisation of their child. Whether they were a nuclear unit or not is completely irrelevant.