Dads Against the Divorce Industry

DA*DI is devoted to reinstating the societal valuation of Marriage and the traditional, nuclear American Family, with particular emphasis on the essential role of FATHERS.

DA*DI offers contemporary reports and commentary on culture; its aberrations and its heroes.

The "Big Picture" Is Painted
In Small Strokes

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.
January 28, 2002

Gallons of printer's ink have been spilled fretting about the New World Order, Globalization, The Trilateral Commission, the Single Bullet Theory, the Military-Industrial Complex, the Problem of Evil, and countless other world-encompassing enigmas.

There's something about these shadowy concepts that lends itself to boundless speculation, unbridled paranoia, and useless solutions. For the most part, people would rather redirect the focus of their ruminations towards grand conspiracies or maladies, rather than face the reality of their daily worries; "will I keep my job?", "will my marriage last?", "will my car survive the winter?", "Will my children succeed?" There's something comforting in concerns that lie outside one's own skin.

I was reminded of this retreat to globalities the other day when reading several pieces from varied news sources that seemed to coalesce around world-wide concerns.

Thomas Bray, a talented conservative columnist for the Detroit News questioned, Is America beginning to create an empire? It seems that America's recent adventures (/meddling) in Haiti, Bosnia, and far-flung third-world outposts smacks of the "trappings of empire" according to one of Bray's sources.

OK, there is some reason to wonder whether the U.S. will respect the national character and boundaries of these nations and near-nation outposts. After all, the American 'elite' have made it clear that they view other humans, even their countrymen (/countrypersons) to be consistently in need of elite guidance in all the minutiae of daily pursuits.

The Enron criminal enterprise prompted Arnaud de Borchgrave to advise President Bush that it is time for him to stave off the new world disorder by appointing a "commission of strategic thinkers whose mandate would be a new vision for the 21st century." No small thinkers needed here. We're talking The Big Picture. Looking back at post-WWII strategies such as these:

The Truman Doctine
"President Truman declared, "It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. ... the Truman Doctrine signaled America's post war embrace of global leadership and ended its longstanding policy of isolationism."
The Marshall Plan (from the George C. Marshall Speech)
"It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.

And yet the whole world of the future hangs on a proper judgment. It hangs, I think, to a large extent on the realization of the American people, of just what are the various dominant factors. What are the reactions of the people? What are the justifications of those reactions? What are the sufferings? What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done? "
de Borchgrave waxes philosophic that "failing to plan is tantamount to planning to fail". OK, so he's no Churchill when it comes to turning a phrase.

But he did brush one notion in vivid colors:
 "For those who argue that Enron proves the benefits of the capitalist system there are winners and losers they are looking at the wrong end of the global telescope. They should take the trouble to surf foreign media sites for editorial comment about post-Argentina, post-Enron globalism.
     The term 'bandit capitalism' crops up with depressing frequency.
     Prior to September 11, the tone was already critical about U.S. economic and cultural imperialism."
Clearly, he grasps the ethical and moral implications of the Enron debacle. But does he presume too much in suggesting that a contemporary elite brain trust can lay out the kind of global strategies that followed WWII? America was a different country then, and the cultural nihilists that crawled out from under that Woodstock rock have grossly corrupted the American canvas with their muddy feet.

And that's not the end of the great worries. Thomas Sowell, with his usual clarity that is a joy to behold, reminds us that the Woodstock anointed have also brought us to a point where our internal balkanization has weakened our ability to welcome immigrants.

In Sowell's words: "Virtually the whole human race has voted with their feet as to which economic and other benefits they prefer to have. The problem is that the cultural baggage of the immigrants is often incompatible with the culture that produces the benefits they seek. ... the intelligentsia's dogmas of cultural equality and the ugly political reality of ethnic identity politics make this much less likely."

All three of these highly qualified writers have invited us to indulge our paranoia, and indirectly, to look to the federal government to cleanse the culture of these lapses in the moral and cultural landscape. But how is that to happen when the federalistas are implicitly following cultural dictates?

When Arnaud de Borchgrave suggests that it is time for Truman Doctrine II, one must consider that such grand planning must first be assured that it is founded on rock rather than sand. At present there are too many potential Enrons and other loose cannons on deck that threaten the foundation of such plans. Cal Thomas reminds us that "One's comfort level is now the standard by which people determine moral truth. If it feels good, do it." And this places the sociopath, the pedophile, the atheist and the patriot on a level playing field, to coin a phrase.

While de Borchgrave asserts that the Truman Doctrine gave " the world a robust geopolitical architecture that stood the test of half a century and collapsed the Soviet empire", he fails to acknowledge that that was then and this is now. The Truman Doctrine succeeded because America was "good", in accord with de Tocqueville's observations.

Looking closely at the Truman Doctrine, the key provision was this: "free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities." Aside from the "armed" provision, is this not contemporary America - a country being subjugated internally by minority voices? Are we currently in any condition to be global leaders? Again the Enron example jumps out at us, as portrayed in the Los Angeles Times "Enron's Run Tripped by Arrogance, Greed: A lack of discipline and a drive to bend rules were key factors in the meltdown."

Similarly, the Marshall Plan presumed the goodness of America, and its ability to enter a proper (moral / ethical) judgement: "the whole world of the future hangs on a proper judgment."

How to recreate Truman and Marshall's America?

Here is where the pointillist provides insight to the solution of creating the big picture that is America - on the world's canvas.

The art of Georges-Pierre Seurat provides a worthwhile illustration (no pun intended) of the solution. As one of the two acknowledged founders of "pointillism", Seurat demonstrated that small dots of constrasting colors would ultimately create a fluid whole.
In his painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte the beholder's eye perceives a serene weekend beach with all manner of folks and critters enjoying the ambiance.

On closer inspection, the scene gives way to countless dots of color, which by themselves provide only a hint of the scenic perspective. And so it is with culture.

On the canvas that is culture, the dots are the highly individualized nuclei which blend together in a common tapestry. A fine arts degree is not required to understand that Seurat would not have attempted to comingle oils, water colors, and chalky pastels to create a single canvas. The canvas media must be uniform, or at least compatible, in order to create predictable and pleasing results. Culture is no exception, as illustrated in the current American malaise.

Remember for the moment that when the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan were adopted, there was greater uniformity and compatibility in the American fabric. Prior to the end of WWII, the divorce rate was negligible (16%) and despite a brief spike following the war (30%) remained at about an average of about 25% until the babyboomers began to "mature." Then, it more than doubled. G-d was not yet dead, despite Nietzsche's demand that He be so, and the influence of the permissive and beloved Dr. Benjamin Spock had not yet created a generation of narcissists. Family was universally accepted as the union of one man and one woman and their offspring. America was morally and relationally tethered. Just as Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon" is described in the Encarta, America (had) achieve(d) 'an atmosphere of monumental dignity through the balanced arrangement of its elements', despite some remaining flaws.

It was this balanced arrangement; this moral uniformity and compatibility that gave potential and credence to the big picture ambitions of Truman and Marshall. The dots were easily connected and their contrasting colors and individuality did not detract from, but gave vibrance to the coherent whole. America was more than the sum of its parts. It was an idea and an ideal anchored in morality and the smallest nuclear unity - family.

A great painting and the-big-picture share the same fundamental characteristics. They are both the product of a great many small strokes of the brush. And "culture", or lack of it, is analogous to the big picture. A nation of self-comforting, feel-good narcissists cannot establish continuity and compatibility. Traditional, pre-Spockian family and moral order are the iconoclasts of narcissism.

America can benefit greatly from leadership that acknowledges the essential roles of morality, family and fatherhood. And the current administration has shown some real courage in acknowledging and celebrating the "sanctity of life" in the midst of a culture of death. This provides a penumbra of respectability and motivation to those who are already motivated, and those who are weighing the decision, to pursue a moral course.

But the canvas of culture will not be restored without the small strokes that are essential to "a proper judgment" of America's course. And the strength of America's resolve will only be preserved by a sense of shared beliefs that diminish cultural paranoia.

To make such judgments, and to feel safe in their skins, individuals need to rely on their personal experiences, based on moral tenets, and tested on the canvas of an intact family. Just a decade ago, Paul Barton, formerly with the Education Testing Service, titled his study: ""America's Smallest School: The Family," and he emphasized "the presence of two parents in the home" as being essential to building a learned mind.

In his analysis of learning, George Will summed it well: "American children spend 9 percent of their time in school, 91 percent elsewhere. The fate of American education is being shaped not by legislative acts, but by the fact that, increasingly, 'elsewhere' is not in an intact family."

Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted, four years before Woodstock; " ... there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future -- that community asks for and gets chaos."

Thus, before we embark on a new course for global leadership, we are well advised to first prepare the next generation to properly judge America's leaders and their course. Essential to that preparation is the restoration of the traditional family - and most importantly, bringing fathers back into their homes.

Family and Fatherhood - are the several small strokes that create genius on the canvas of culture and leadership.

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D. [Clinical Psychology] is the founder of DA*DI. Since founding DA*DI in 1994, he has been devoted to researching, advising and disseminating information on the issues that he believes threaten to engulf and diminish the American culture; the same issues that are driving the divorce industry and the deconstruction of the family and fatherhood. DA*DI's latest campaign proclaims Dads Have The Right Stuff.

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