Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Industrialisation of the Family

In previous articles, I have criticized the Left for its attack on the family, but the Right has also played a role in constructing the current mess.

During the Thatcher years of the 1980s, we saw profound economic changes in the UK. There was a significant decline in traditional manufacturing industry, caused partly by the inexorable winds of globalisation, but also exacerbated deliberately by the Thatcher government in order to overpower the trade unions. Coal mining, steel-making and other heavy industries were deliberately closed down or sold off, even when they were profitable, specifically in order to break trade union power.

At that time there was much talk from the government of the ‘flexible work-force’, which in practice meant that workers had almost no legal protection, and employers had all the power to hire or fire casual labour on a whim. With official estimates of three million unemployed, it was a buyer’s market. ‘There is a queue of people waiting outside, so if you don’t want the job, get out, and I’ll find someone else who does. Take it or leave it.‘

This climate was deliberately created by the Thatcher government for political and economic reasons. There is no doubt that the unions in the 1970s had been extremely powerful, and largely dominated by Marxists, and were not acting in the interests of the nation or the wider society, and something had to be done to rein them in. However, this had profound social consequences which we are still living with today.

Norman Tebbitt, Thatcher’s Employment Secretary, famously stated that when his own father was unemployed in the 1930s, he didn’t riot; instead he got on his bike and he looked for work. This turned out to be a powerful metaphor for what followed. People were encouraged to travel in search of work.

The other buzz-word of the Thatcher years was ‘the transition to a service economy‘. No-one I know works in manufacturing. They are lawyers, teachers, social workers, management consultants, IT or financial services staff, or, perhaps the lowest rung of all, call centre agents. The decline in heavy manufacturing was matched by an enormous rise in the knowledge and service based sectors. The paradigm case of the worker today is not the farmer or factory-hand of the Soviet hammer-and-sickle, but the educated middle-class professional. Rather than getting on his bike and trailing around the factories and ship-yards looking for work, he (or she) will put up a brass plaque outside the office door (or more likely a web-site) and wait for clients. This is a profound cultural and economic shift in work-patterns in less than a generation. Needless to say, this has had far-reaching effects on family and community life.

London has a large population of young, single professionals who have gravitated to the Capital, from every corner of the world, in search of work. In most cases, they have left their families behind, and are on their own. Just like the disenfranchised black youth I wrote about previously, these workers form groups, surrogate families, for mutual support.

The astronomical rise in property values means that the indigenous families have been driven out of the neighbourhoods, to be replaced by professional tenants. Many of them, even people in their thirties with professional jobs and good salaries, are living in flat-shares like college students, because they cannot afford a place of their own. The flat-share is one of the obvious routes into a surrogate family, the adult gang. The middle-class adult gang is vastly more numerous than the violent street gang, and although a good deal less destructive, it is still a significant social phenomenon, worthy of consideration.

People enter into short-term tenancy agreements, and tend to move on after a year or two, often going back to their home country. These workers, although in many ways model citizens, have little or no emotional investment in their local community. Usually, they have never even met their neighbours. When Mrs. Thatcher said that ‘there is no such thing as society, there are only individuals’, in this sense she was quite right. But a transitory population with no investment in its community, which values houses and streets only in financial terms, is not good for social cohesion. The lack of community in such areas, the lack of solidarity among the adults, is one of the reasons why the street gangs are able to flourish unchallenged. The corporate-capitalist Right has created this economic and social landscape. This is where the Left steps in.

By encouraging this geographical mobility, many of the economic forces unleashed by the Right during the 1980s tend to militate against community and family life. It is surely the job of the Left to counter these forces, to try to ameliorate the worst effects by caring for those at the bottom. But the Left has absolutely abandoned its responsibilities in this area. The two things that might help to bind communities together, the family and the education system, have been systematically sabotaged by the Left.

Driven by a feminist agenda, it argues that marriage is an outdated relic of the 1950s, that the family is an antiquated institution designed to oppress women, and that all family structures are equally good. ‘All family structures’ includes a teenage mother living off state hand-outs. That, apparently, is ‘just as valid’ as a married couple working to support their children. This position is complete nonsense on every level.

From the point of view of the single mother herself, she is vastly worse off than her married sister. She herself is more likely to live in poverty, more likely to suffer health problems, more likely to commit suicide, and her children are more likely to be abused, more likely to fail at school and more likely to grow up to be delinquents.

From the State‘s point of view, she is a net liability rather than an asset. The married couple work, pay taxes, raise new citizens and contribute to community cohesion. For the single mother, the State has to support her so-called ‘alternative family’, and pay for the resulting fallout for decades, in terms of increased health-care and crime, keeping her adult sons in prison, and her adult daughters in the same miserable position as herself.

Feminists never tire of saying that single mothers do a great job. They do not. They may do their best, but that does not constitute doing a good job. Most of them do a terrible job, leaving a trail of social wreckage for decades. Her sons today are the gang-members of tomorrow. Her daughters today are the teenage mothers of tomorrow. The taxpayer picks up the tab.

Mrs. Thatcher’s grand plan of a transition to a knowledge-based economy depended crucially on education. Having been made redundant from heavy industry, the idea was that workers would re-train for the new economy. For many, including myself, education was a traditional route out of poverty, something the Left should encourage. Instead of that, they have systematically undermined education for the last forty years, undermining the authority of teachers, decrying educational excellence as elitist masculine thinking. This was based on nothing more than envy, with humanities graduates resenting the fact that science and engineering were held in higher esteem than literature and art history, and feminists resenting the fact that men succeeded in these fields better than women. The Left’s response was to tear educational values down. This has given rise to a kind of adolescent ‘too kool for skool’ attitude, that it is cool not to do your homework, and cool to stick two fingers up behind the teacher’s back. This juvenile impulse has been given free-rein by a Left which seeks to undermine all social authority, particularly male authority

Our broken families and sabotaged schools are ideal factories for turning out hoodies, and that is exactly what they are doing. A society in which the streets are dominated by gangs of teenage boys is a frightening place to be. One of the few things which teenage boys are likely to respond to is male authority, yet male authority has been forcibly abolished. The fault for this lies squarely with the feminist-dominated Left.

With the Left and Right jointly responsible for undermining family and community, Mrs. Thatcher’s service-based economy has stepped in to fill the gap. In the broken society of individuals, people now have to pay for services that they once got from their family. This constitutes in effect, the industrialization of the family.

Once upon a time, there was no difficulty in finding a baby-sitter. There was always an aunt or a grandmother willing to step in and help. Nowadays, hard-working parents have to pay for professional childcare, which is not only expensive, but is often less effective, and ideologically driven.

The single mother receives her economic support from the State, rather than her husband. The family courts and social services arbitrate in family disputes which would once have been settled in private. The police are getting involved in school discipline. Women are being sold insurance policies promising to carry out repairs to their house, or to change a wheel on their car, services they would once have got for free from their husbands.

At the same time, globalization and the collapse of the Soviet bloc has given rise to an influx of foreign prostitutes, helping to fuel the rise of a commercial sex industry. It should come as no surprise to find that many men are paying for services that they once would have got from their wives. Feminists of course, are all in favour of state-funded childcare, but against prostitution. They are all for the industrialization of the family whenever it suits them, and against it when it does not.

Not only have many aspects of family life been commercialised, but in many cases, these services are being provided by the State. In other words, the taxpayer. I do not share the Thatcherite aversion to the concept of tax, but I see no reason why I should pay for someone else's self-indulgence, and if we must pay for their reckless mistakes, I would prefer that the money was spent up-front in educating them, rather than on keeping them in poverty after the damage has been done.

And what of those poor white families driven out of their traditional communities and workplaces? New Labour has no interest in them, because they are not a recognized ‘Victim’ group, as defined by a post-1968 agenda imported from the USA. Neither wealthy nor glamorous, they do not provide many good photo-opportunities for smarmy politicians like Blair. The middle-class feminists like Harridan Harmmen cannot bear to admit that some men in society are more in need of support than they are. It is ideologically unthinkable for them to give support to 'white families'.

Completely abandoned by the political establishment, many poor white communities are turning out to be a fertile breeding ground for neo-fascists. The British National Party is the only party that shows the slightest interest in them. This does not bode well for the future. Beset by the street gangs, poor and poorly educated, they are largely powerless to help themselves, and they have only two realistic choices. Embrace the gang culture yourself, or listen to the neo-Nazi message that the problem with street gangs is that they are black, and the reason why you struggle to find a house and a job is because of all the foreigners taking them. This was a seductive message for many in the 1930s, and, for some, it still is today.

The feminists are no better than the neo-fascists. The same simple-minded message can be heard from both sides. It’s their fault, their fault. It’s all the fault of immigrants. It’s all the fault of men. The difference is, the neo-fascists are not the ones in power.


angryharry said...

Another gobsmacking piece Heretical.

My only complaint is the usual one - your implied claim that Thatcher gave rise to the 'me' society.

It was the feminists and the left that did this - not Thatcher.

For example, it was the feminists who told women to do as they please regardless of the costs to men and children etc etc

And it was the left who told people that "all cultures were equally valid", promiscuous sex was a great idea, science was phallocentric etc etc etc

It was the feminsts and the left who propagated the view that all our previous values should be discarded and that people (particularly 'minorities' - women, children etc) should do exactly as they please.

None of this was down to Thatcher.

She and her government could NOT oppose these new ideological forces.

They tried - but every time that they opened their mouths on such issues they were castigated by the left-dominated media - and so they just had to shut up - LIKE THE REST OF US.

The horrors of political-correctness were forced upon the Tories just like they were forced upon everyone else.

Your view of Mrs T is exactly the one that was propagated very successfully by the left!

But they have lied about her just as successfully as they have lied about everything else.

Mrs T was no angel - but it was not she who promoted the 'me' society'.

Perhaps you remember John Major's attempt to go "back to basics" - the idea being that many tradional values were worth holding on to - family, strong education etc.

Do you not remember the furore and the ridicule that the left-wing media hurled at him over this?

He never recovered from it.

It was NOT POSSIBLE for Mrs T or John Major or the Tories to expound views that the politically-corrected did not like.

Indeed, "back to basics" is, more or less, what your very own article is arguing for.

In other words, you and Mrs T have far more in common that you appear to think!


Indeed, she has been lied about in just the same way that politically-corrected lefties will lie about you.

You have seen time and time again with your own eyes how deceitful and dishonest are many of those on the left.

You are well aware of the underhand techniques that the cultural Marxists employ to fool people.

Lies. Lies. And more lies.

Well. They did the same when it came to Mrs T!

With MUCH success.

Heretic said...

Thanks for your comment. I never said in my article that Mrs T was responsible for the 'me' society. I agree that that was a left-wing baby. My point was that her 'flexible workforce' produced, in many places, a transitory population with no investment in its community, thus helping to undermine traditional communities. With regard to education, I argued that her program was sabotaged by the Left. I also agreed that the unions were out of hand, and someone had to tackle them. So in many ways, I am saying supportive things about her government. However, my point that her policies helped to undermine communities is one that I would still argue for. This fallout need not have been the disaster that it has turned out to be, however. In any period of transition there will be difficulties. The Left, I argued, made a bad situation worse, and I did place the blame squarely at the feet of the feminist-dominated Left.

Heretic said...

Another thought occurred to me. The corporate sector - friends of Mrs T - were partly responsible for creating the 'me' society in creating a post-war consumer boom. This is described very well in The Century of the Self.

Her 'property-owning democracy' also produced homelessness. Young people (over 90% men) did not sleep on the streets before Mrs T came to power. She manufactured a housing boom while running down public sector housing stock. This had terrible social consequences.

BrusselsLout said...

An excellent, and well-analyzed piece.

Politicians are driven by one motive only: power. Either to seize power or to stay in power.

But, as shown in the YouTube BBC video The Power of Nightmares, there's another, rather chilling, dimension to a politician's character: his willingness to stir up fear by creating an image of demons, lurking everywhere, ready to pounce on their victims.

Because then, to the sound of trumpets, his party can step in to the rescue. This means more draconian police powers, longer prison sentences and the abolition of due process to "improve" conviction rates. And, of course, to make us all safer still, more prisons.

This also means popularity, and votes, votes, votes.

Although women are not the people most vulnerable to crime by any means (as is constantly portrayed by the media), they certainly are the most vulnerable to the FEAR of crime. And, as women are protection-seekers by nature, they will look to the political party they see as best protectors.

Hence the politics -- from all the main parties -- we see today.

This stirring-up of fear may be good politics, but as we all know, the fear of crime also translates into a fear and mistrust of men. This not only means women fearing and hating men, it also means men fearing and hating other men. It means men developing doubts about themselves for simply being men.

A vote-winning formula, yes. But not the ideal recipe for good social cohesion.

The first politician who speaks up for men, and makes a clear, unequivocal and vociferous stand against feminism will be a clear conviction politician. He will be someone not jumping on any popular bandwagon to win votes at any cost. Whichever party he's from, he will have my vote.

angryharry said...

Heretic said, "My point was that her 'flexible workforce' produced, in many places, a transitory population with no investment in its community, thus helping to undermine traditional communities."

Yes. She did. But I really do not believe that this was her intention.

She also battered away at the 'monopolies' held by 'posh' people - not just the unions.

For example, she nobbled the opticians, the solicitors, the bankers, the jobbers (stockbrokers), the newspaper printers (who earned a fortune) and many other groups who demanded the right to do what others were not allowed to do.

Her sweeping away of the traditional rights to do a job regardless of how these stifled economic growth and which prevented others from joining in - with jobs sometimes passed EXCLUSIVELY from father to son - she abhorred.

"Everyone should have a chance" was her belief - hence, for example, the huge growth of the comprehensive school system under her watch.

In hindsight, she did make a lot of mistakes, but, my goodness, what a woman!

Brussleslout said "The first politician who speaks up for men, and makes a clear, unequivocal and vociferous stand against feminism will be a clear conviction politician."

Unfortunately, at the moment, such a politician will be buried both by the media and by his very own colleagues - who will fear the loss of votes.

He will also be ridiculed in any main platform, and he will soon disappear from view.

I am quite optimistic that our time is soon a-coming with regard to such a politician.

But we need to get a large section of the media on to our side, and then such a politician might stand a chance.

Elusive Wapiti said...


First time reader. What a great post.

I'm not convinced that Baroness Thatcher was as responsible for the economic conditions that you tag her for. Instead I think that they happened around her. No doubt that she performed midwifery duties, but she wasn't the one to conceive it or gestate it.

Drucker foresaw the trends that would produce the knowledge-service economy a few years before it happened. This knowledge economy happened in the States, in the UK, all over Europe, and in Japan. Under this system of organization, the economy switched from the management-labor binary that we were accustomed to for the last 150 years to the knowledge-service binary, with actual labor and manufacturing--cheap and easy to perform due to Taylor's and Ford's reforms--performed elsewhere.

As a result, all these countries witnessed the outsourcing of classical industrial jobs which, quite frankly, didn't require that much smarts to do and certainly didn't justify the wage premium that labor unions demanded. So the manufacturing jobs left to go to other places where the cost of labor was lower. Those who lost their industrial jobs were forced into the service sector.

I did note with some interest that you have linked the industrialization of the family with what I call the industrialization of sex. The concepts are quite related IMHO. And all follow the blueprint of an intentional conscription of the population into Marxism.

Great post. I'll be back for more.

Heretic said...

"She also battered away at the 'monopolies' held by 'posh' people - not just the unions.

For example, she nobbled the opticians, the solicitors, the bankers, the jobbers (stockbrokers), the newspaper printers (who earned a fortune) and many other groups who demanded the right to do what others were not allowed to do."

True. What a pity she introduced the poll tax. That was her downfall. She should have carried on and tackled left wing academia.

sisyphus said...

An idealogical debate between two of my heroes Heretic and Angry (bot occasionally Happy) Harry. Brilliant! Keep it up! Leave us hungry but give us more!

Anonymous said...

A good post, except the blind reference at the end to the fascists of the 30's. The primary targets of the nationalistic fascists was international capital, such as we see today in globalisation, and the international proliateriat, which is your marxism.

The marxist, Wilhelm Reich, blamed the solidity of the family structure in Germany for why Marxism did not overcome nationalistic sentiment. He came up with the idea of the sex economy as a way of eliminating the traditional western family structure. Whether, they intended it or not, international capital and international socialism have together, hand-in-hand, effected his proposed solution.