The totalitarian regimes created by Lenin and Hitler are gone but the attack on the family has not at all been reduced. It can even be claimed that in the last decades after the fall of communism in Central Europe, we have witnessed the next, most radical stage of the war waged on the family.
Today, the very concept of family is being “redefined” by introducing such verbal oddities as the “patchwork family”. A similar treatment is given to marriage. What was obvious only 30 years ago – that marriage is a union of a man and a woman – is not so obvious anymore. In our times – if we read the legislation of the so-called leading democracies of the West – a legally recognized union of two ladies or two gentlemen is called a marriage as well.
One can hardly resist citing a clever quip by Gilbert K. Chesterton in this context. He wrote once that a dogma was an obvious truth that had been questioned at a certain moment and for this reason it had to be presented in an official formula. In this way, all who at the beginning of the 21st century maintain that the family is underpinned by marriage as a permanent union of a man and a woman fit into the category of “dogmatists”, defending – in the name of natural law and common sense – the obvious truth that is being questioned in the name of various ideological notions.
Instead of the Family, a “Primitive Flock”, Instead of Love, a Drive
To track the intellectual sources of arguments used in the current phase of the attack on the family, one would have to go back to the 19th century, which brought forth successive ideological visions, targeting the family and claiming to be scientific. One of them was “scientific socialism” (as Karl Marks and Friedrich Engels called their views), Darwinian evolutionism was another. In many circles, the latter still enjoys the status of a concept, popularly known as the “theory of evolution”, exhaustively explaining the origins of the universe and man. This is done so in spite of the fact that hard empirical (scientific, mind you) data, bearing out Darwin’s theory (theory!), is lacking.
In the years following the fall of Communism in Central Europe, we have witnessed the intense battle being waged against the family
In this way Darwinism, lacking any scientific verification, became an ideological vision. It had its political context, known as “social Darwinism”, transferring the concept of “survival of the fittest” onto social reality and international relations. Furthermore, Darwinism displayed a very strong tendency to question the concept of family, as derived from Christianity. Specifically, Darwin said that man from the very beginning of his existence, as a “product of evolution”, lived in a “primitive flock” or – to put it differently in the language of contemporary deconstructionists of family life – in a single extended “patchwork family”, where there was no room for any stable relationships (one man – one woman). The conclusion that suggested itself was thus unambiguous: a family based on a stable monogamous union of a man and a woman was not natural. It was rather a product of evolution and, therefore, it could undergo successive modifications.
In the late 19th century, psychoanalysis was born – another intellectual trend which was similar to evolutionism and which attracted in the 20th and 21st centuries a substantial number of believers. The word “believers” is absolutely right here, as the theories advanced by Sigmund Freud (the founder of psychoanalysis) lacked – which has been known for a long time – a proper research apparatus (non-representativeness of a “sample” subject to study, drawing general conclusions from isolated cases, and so on). These were not the only similarities between Freud and Darwin. Another thing they had in common was the fact that their theories served as yet another argument in the war waged on the Christian concept of family life.
Sigmund Freud was the one who presented sexual desire (“libido” in his terminology) as the cause that brought the family into being, and held this to be a “scientific fact”. “Eros”, according to the Vienna psychiatrist, is the sexual drive that man cannot resist. Family life, in this approach, is but one of many ways of satisfying the drive. As Freud wrote: “Love is a relationship between a man and a woman who on the basis of their genital (sexual) needs start a family.”
The “New Left” completely adopted the ideology of Reich and his mentor, Zygmunt Freud, which perceives the “patriarchal, bourgeois family” as the greatest barrier to “true human freedom”
In this idea of family that is suggested by the founder of psychoanalysis, children are viewed as an obstacle to the satisfaction of “genital needs”. According to Freud, everything that “restricts the sexual life of man” – above all the conception of morality derived from Christianity, including the morality of family life – ought to be rejected outright.