The alternative to the family is the individual. Within the family is mutual obligation. The parent cares for the child, and the child is then obligated to obey and care for the parent. Chesterton saw that as first the father and then the mother was removed from the home, the basic unit of society was becoming not the family, but the individual. As he points out, this is harmful in many ways.
If the child is free from the first to disregard the parent, why is not the parent free from the first to disregard the child? If Mr. Jones, Senior, and Mr. Jones, Junior, are only two free and equal citizens, why should one citizen sponge on another citizen for the first fifteen years of his life? Why should the elder Mr. Jones be expected to feed, clothe and shelter out of his own pocket another person who is entirely free of any obligations to him?The Drift From Domesticity, The Thing
Mutual obligation is a great foundation for a society and is truly distributist. There is no authoritarian governmental body enforcing the value of care for neighbor. This disposition to charity is requisite for a distributist culture to thrive.
What better place for charity than in the home? If we want to create a distributist environment – we must support the family. It is the primary institution and the one for which the others exist.
2 thoughts on “Chesterton’s Fence Part II”
Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.
Thank you, Mark.