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.

Skunked: Restoring America's Belief in Fatherhood

Gerald L. Rowles, Ph.D.
February 3, 2003

"The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind." - H.L. Mencken
Strangely enough, fathers have a lot in common with the tobacco industry. For instance, between 1965 and 1998, the percentage of smokers has dropped by nearly half, from 44% to 24%. In that same period, the percentage of men involved in, not initiating, divorces increased by nearly double, from 27% to 51%. One could obviously speculate on these parallel phenomena, including the notion that quitting smoking has led to more divorced fathers.

Well why not. Just because it is palpably foolish should not hinder us from believing. Consider the following public pronouncements: On smoking, "Tobacco smoking is the most important cause of lung cancer;" On fathers, "Dads are pathological bullies who abuse their children." Which statement do you think is not true?

It may surprise you to find out that they are both palpably not true. In fact, they are outright lies. In the case of smoking and lung cancer, James P. Siepmann, MD makes the case that while smoking is a small one of the many risk factors, laziness and shipbuilding are respectively twice greater risk factors. Not only that, the incidence of lung cancer in annual deaths is 3% in the U.S.

In the area of substantiated cases of child abuse, stated as a percentage of the population under age 18, according to a 1996 DHHS report, less than 1% (.9%) of U.S. kids were abused in 1994. At that same time, more than 65% of those children were living in their biological father's home. Legitimate studies have shown that 60% or more of "parental abuse" is perpetrated by mothers. And even though single mothers' boyfriends contribute less than 2 percent of all nonparental child care, they commit almost half of all reported abuse by nonparents.

Both smoking and fathers have been the targets of fanatics whose malevolent lies and scare tactics have become the stuff of 'accepted truth', writ larger than life. While it may be technically true that smoking is not particularly good for you, it is also technically true that a small subset of the male and female population are not particularly good prospective marital, parenting partners. The same is true of ground beef, alcohol, vehicular travel, crossing the street, taking a shower, swimming, and working in the Post Office.

The bottom line is, smoking and fathers are in a sorry state of disrepute, and they both are the source of great sums of extorted monies for lawyers, State governments, and feminist-leaning charitable organizations. The tobacco companies realize that they are laboring under a sullied, bullied image, but men in general still don't get it. And fathers are still throwing vast sums of money away defending their self-perceived co-validity as parents. But witness the popular slogan that has now attached itself to dads like an Albatross, 'responsible fatherhood.' Inherent to this phrase is the presumption of irresponsibility, one of those palpable untruths.

So far, men have attempted to organize and validate themselves using the victim playbook (being abused by the courts, lawyers, and government). But it ain't working, because 'everyone knows' that they are not the victims. The public has been saturated with the untruth that men are, or are about to become, the perpetrators. Yup, they're just another pack of butts.

Speaking of butts, a good example of how far we have fallen was provided just days ago by Joseph Farah, who advocated freedom for an evil, willful husband murderer, Clara Harris. The crime was justifiable, ya see, because her husband had committed adultery; nevermind that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is also one of the Ten Commandments. Can it be long before we replace divorce with male stoning? Nah, won't happen; husband's are too much the cash cow for the divorce industry.

Unlike the tobacco industry, fathers can ultimately redeem their image by repeatedly and visibly pointing to the truth. In majority, husbands and fathers are good for women and children. Fatherhood and motherhood are complementary roles, and having a pair of biological parents provides a safety cushion for children if one or the other is lost to tragedy. Fathers provide a uniquely valuable set of contributions to a child's compendium of life lessons. Husbands are a protective shield for both mother and child. And the likelihood of financial prosperity is dramatically greater in the traditional marital home.

The nuclear family in the next century, according to a 1992 article in Time magazine, is going to go "Boom." The result: "Think of Dickens' London," predicted Edward Cornish, president of the World Future Society. "Worse, think of Brazil, where there are armies of children with no place to go."These images of families have roots in truth. Family decay is imperiling many children....

This brings me to what will become a familiar refrain from this corner. A highly visible campaign of pro-father messages must begin. Public displays, like billboards (samples), provide a unique window wherein observers are conscious of a shared vision - unlike the privateness of watching television at home, and listening to the radio in your car. The message must be put 'out there'. And it must be out there 24-7.

Having said all that however, redeeming the positive father image is the toughest task, both at hand and for the foreseeable future. Too much damage has been done by the opposition, and it has stuck like the spray from a skunk. Dads may not be the source of the stink, but they are the reluctant carriers.

Like it or not, dads have been skunked. As abhorrent and unjust as it may seem, restoring America's belief in fathers, like restoring lost faith, must precede a return to the traditions of fatherhood and family and valuation of the fatherhood role.

Back to DA*DI's Home