No, you can’t replace fathers with the government

No, you can’t replace fathers with the government

It is said that America can always be counted on to do the right thing once we have exhausted all other alternatives. As of Father’s Day 2022, America has spent roughly 60 years finishing the other options to fatherhood — and the collateral damage is all around us.

Broken families. Lost communities. Betrayed women. Scared children. Busy morgues. And overcrowded prisons.

The evidence is so overwhelming that it’s not controversial anymore. The mountain of data is nothing short of the Himalayas. Children growing up without their fathers—especially in communities where fatherlessness has become the norm—carry the heaviest social, economic, and psychological cross that social science can measure.

Children raised in single-parent families are:

Sorry Libs, You Can't Replace Dads With Government | The Heritage Foundation

63% of teenage suicides; 90% of runaways and homeless children; 85% of patients with behavioral disorders; 71% of early school leavers; 75% of teens in substance abuse rehab centers; 85% of young detainees.

We need to demonstrate this for the trillions of dollars spent and the decades of research conducted. We would have found it if there were a way for a social worker, a bureaucracy, or a government check to fill the daddy-shaped hole in America’s broken homes.

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It does not exist. Three generations of elites — from Washington to Hollywood — have promised young Americans it would be “liberating” to sever the natural connections between sex, marriage, commitment, children, and parenthood. As the stats above show, it was anything but.

The only solution to fatherlessness is fathers. And we must find a way to say that, even in these hypersensitive times.

Our culture has made many commendable efforts to destigmatize single motherhood that we now inadvertently denigrate married fatherhood. We work so hard to affirm non-traditional gender roles and family structures that we’ve forgotten how valuable they have always been.

Fatherhood is not about being a man. It’s about being a man. Fatherhood puts masculinity in favor of society, so the community benefits along with the family and each father as he grows in his vocation. The strength, courage, reliability, honesty, responsibility, gentleness, toughness, and protection that define true masculinity keeps children safe, women happy, and trouble at bay. A fish may or may not need a bicycle, but women and children need men very much.

We know what real toxic masculinity looks like. It’s like boys who grew up without men: insecure, vulgar, misogynistic, angry, ignorant, violent, confused, and above all, scared.

In every poor community in America, from opioid-ridden Appalachia to violent downtowns, every boy who doesn’t know how to be a man and every girl who doesn’t know she deserves one is screaming out into that empty void in their homes. And in their hearts, “Father, why have you forsaken me?”

That question cannot be answered, or that agony cannot be alleviated, with universal health care or a “Build Back Better” plan. The measurable, material benefits of intact families – the second income and additional caregiver – are the least important. What matters is not what fathers do but what they are.

For two generations, America’s elite institutions have devalued what they are. However, a welfare state punishes work and marriage, an education system punishes boyishness, and a culture that views chivalry as offensive and masculinity its poisonous. As it turns out, dads are just one more thing our failed elite class was wrong about.

Father’s Day reminds us that our broken culture, struggling single mothers, and scared children don’t need another program or policy but one person.

Fathers: do not accept substitutes.

LifeNews Note: Kevin Roberts is the president of The Heritage Foundation (